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ALEXANDER  t1AJ0R5t1E[1(15 

.*»  4 







Seventy  Years  on  the  Frontier 


OF  A. 

Lifetime  on  the  Border 






The  Western  Miner  and  Financier 

Copyright,  1893,  by  Rand,  McNally  &  Co. 

Seventy  Years  on  the  Frontier 



W.    F.    CODY 

AS    BOY     AND     MAN,     MY     FRIEND     FOR  .TWO     SCORE     YEARS, 


THIS     BOOK     OF     BORDER     LIFE. 

Alexander  Majors. 






Preface,  by  Buffalo  Bill 9 

Note  to  Reader — 13 


I.     Reminiscences  of  Youth 15 

II.     Missouri  in    Its  Wild   and  Uncultivated 

State - 25 

III.  A   Silver  Expedition 32 

IV.  The  Mormons 43 

V.     The  Mormons' Mecca 63 

VI.     My  First  Venture - 71 

VII.     Faithful  Friends. 78 

VIII.     Our  War  with  Mexico 85 

IX.     Doniphan's  Expedition 90 

X.     The  Pioneer  of  Frontier  Telegraphy 99 

XI.     An  Overland  Outfit 102 

XII.     Kit  Carson - 107 

XIII.  Adventures  of  a  Trapper 119 

XIV.  Trapping --- 125 

XV.     An  Adventure  with  Indians... 128 

XVI.     Crossing  the  Plains 137 

XVII.     "The  Jayhawkers  of  1849" 15° 

XVIII.     Mirages ----  157 

XIX.     The  First  Stage  into  Denver 164 

XX.     TheGoldFever 168 

XXI.     The  Overland  Mail 173 

XXII.     The  Pony  Express  and  Its  Brave  Riders.  182 





XXIII.  The  Battle  of  the  Buffaloes 194 

XXIV.  The  Black  Bear '. 201 

XXV.     TheBeaver 215 

XXVI.     A  Boy's  Trip  Overland 221 

XXVII.     The  Denver  of  Early  Days 228 

XXVIII.  The  Denver  of  To-day  and  Its  Environs.  232 

XXIX.     Buffalo  Bill  from  Boyhood  to  Fame 243 

XXX.     The  Platte  Valley . 247 

XXXI.     Kansas  City  before  the  War 253 

XXXII.     The  Graves  of  Pioneers 258 

XXXIII.     Silver  Mining 267 


As  there  is  no  man  living  who  is  more  thoroughly  com- 
petent to  write  a  book  of  the  Wild  West  than  my  life-long 
friend  and  benefactor  in  my  boyhood,  Alexander  Majors, 
there  is  no  one  to  whose  truthful  words  I  would  rather 
accept  the  honor  of  writing  a  preface. 

An  introduction  to  a  book  of  Mountain  and  Plain  by 
Mr.  Majors  certainly  need  hardly  be  written,  unless  it  be  to 
refer  to  the  author  in  a  way  that  his  extreme  modesty  will 
not  permit  him  to  speak  of  himself,  for  he  is  not  given  to 
sounding  his  own  praise,  being  a  man  of  action  rather  than 
words,  and  yet  whose  life  has  its  recollections  of  seventy 
years  upon  the  frontier,  dating  to  a  period  that  tried  men's 
souls  to  the  fullest  extent,  and  when  daring  deeds  and 
thrilling  adventures  were  of  every-day  occurrence.  Remem- 
brance of  seventy  years  of  life  in  the  Far  West  and  amid 
the  Rocky  Mountains! 

What  a  world  of  thought  this  gives  rise  to,  when  we 
recall  that  a  quarter  of  a  century  ago  there  was  not  a  rail- 
road west  of  the  Missouri  River,  and  every  pound  of 
freight,  every  emigrant,  every  letter,  and  every  message 
had  to  be  carried  by  wagon  or  on  horseback,  and  at  the 
risk  of  life  and  hardships  untold. 

The  man  who  could  in  the  face  of  all  dangers  and  obsta- 
cles originate  and  carry  to  success  a  line  of  freighter 
wagons,  a  mail  route  from  the  Atlantic  to  the  Pacific,  and 
a  Pony  Express,  flying  at  the  utmost  speed  of  a  hare 
through  the  land,  was  no  ordinary  individual,  as  can  be  well 


understood.  And  such  a  man  Alexander  Majors  was.  He 
won  success;  and  to-day,  on  the  verge  of  four  score  years, 
lives  over  again  in  his  book  the  thrilling  scenes  in  his  own 
life  and  in  the  lives  of  others. 

Family  reverses  after  the  killing  of  my  father  in  the 
Kansas  War,  caused  me  to  start  out,  though  a  mere  boy, 
in  1855  to  seek  to  aid  in  the  support  of  my  mother  and  sis- 
ters, and  it  was  to  Mr.  Alexander  Majors  that  I  applied  for 
a  situation.  He  looked  me  over  carefully  in  his  kindly 
way,  and  after  questioning  me  closely  gave  me  the  place  of 
messenger  boy,  that  was,  one  to  ride  with  dispatches 
between  the  overland  freighters — wagon  trains  going  west- 
ward into  the  almost  unknown  wild  dump  of  prairie  and 

That  was  my  first  meeting  with  Alexander  Majors,  and 
up  to  the  present  time  our  friendship  has  never  had  a  break 
in  it,  and,  I  may  add,  never  will  through  act  of  mine. 

Having  thus  shown  my  claim  to  a  thorough  knowledge 
of  my  distinguished  old  friend,  let  me  now  state  that  his 
firm  was  known  the  country  over  as  Majors,  Russell  & 
WoddeJl,  but  it  was  to  Mr.  Majors  particularly  that  the 
heaviest  duties  of  organizing  and  management  fell,  and  he 
never  shirked  a  duty  or  a  danger,  as  I  well  remember. 

Severe  in  discipline,  he  was  yet  never  profane  or  harsh, 
and  a  Christian  and  temperance  man  through  all;  he  gov- 
erned his  men  kindly,  and  was  wont  to  say  that  he  would 
have  no  one  under  his  control  who  would  not  promptly 
obey  an  order  without  it  was  emphasized  with  an  oath. 
In  fact,  he  had  a  contract  with  his  men  in  which  they 
pledged  themselves  not  to  use  profanity,  get  drunk,  gamble, 
or  be  cruel  to  animals  under  pain  of  dismissal,  while  good 
behavior  was  rewarded.  Every  man,  from  wagon-boss  and 
teamster  down  to  rustler  and  messenger-boy,  seemed  anx- 
ious to  gain  the  good  will  of  Alexander  Majors  and  to  hold 


it,  and  to-day  he  has  fewer  foes  than  any  one  I  know,  in 
spite  of  his  position  as  chief  of  what  were  certainly  a  wild 
and  desperate  lot  of  men,  where  the  revolver  settled  all 

It  was  Mr.  Majors'  firm  that  originated  and  put  in  the 
Pony  Express  across  the  plains  and  made  it  the  grand 
success  it  proved  to  be. 

It  was  his  firm  that  so  long  and  successfully  carried  on 
the  business  of  overland  freighting  in  the  face  of  every 
obstacle,  and  also  the  Overland  Stage  Drive  between  the 
Missouri  River  and  Pacific  Ocean,  and  in  his  long  life  on 
the  border  he  has  become  known  to  all  classes  and  con- 
ditions of  men,  so  that  in  writing  now  his  memoirs,  no  man 
knows  better  whereof  he  speaks  than  he  does. 

In  each  instance  where  he  has  written  to  his  old-time 
comrades  for  data,  he  has  taken  only  that  which  he  knew 
could  be  verified,  and  has  thrown  out  material  sufficient  to 
double  his  book  in  size,  where  he  felt  the  slightest  doubt 
that  it  could  not  be  relied  upon  to  the  fullest  extent. 

His  work,  therefore,  is  a  history  of  the  Wild  West,  its 
pages  authentic,  and  though  many  of  its  scenes  are  roman- 
tic and  thrilling,  it  is  what  has  hitherto  been  an  unwritten 
story  of  facts,  figures,  and  reality;  and  now,  that  in  his 
old  age  he  finds  his  occupation  gone,  I  feel  and  hope  that 
his  memoirs  will  find  a  ready  sale. 

W.  F.  CODY, 

"Buffalo  Bill." 


In  preparing  the  material  of  my  book,  I  desire  here  to 
give  justice  where  justice  is  due,  and  express  myself  as 
under  obligations  for  valuable  data  and  letters,  which  I 
fully  appreciate;  and  publicly  thank  for  their  kindness  in 
this  direction  those  whose  names  follow: 

Col.  W.  F.  Cody  ("Buffalo  Bill")  of  Nebraska. 

Col.  John  B.  Colton,  Kansas  City,  Mo. 

Mr.  V.  DeVinny,  Denver,  Colo. 

Mr.  E.  L.  Gallatin,  Denver,  Colo. 

Judge  Simonds,  Denver,  Colo. 

Mr.  John  T.  Rennick,  Oak  Grove,  Mo. 

Mr.  Geo.  W.  Bryant,  Kansas  City,  Mo. 

Mr.  George  E.  Simpson,  Kansas  City,  Mo. 

Mr.  John  Martin,  Denver,  Colo. 

Mr.  David  Street,  Denver,  Colo. 

Mrs.  Nellie  Carlisle,  Berkeley,  Cal. 

Mr.  A.  Carlisle,  Berkeley,  Cal. 

Mr.  Green  Majors,  San  Francisco,  Cal. 

Mr.  Ergo  Alex.  Majors,  Alameda,  Cal. 

Mr.  Seth  E.  Ward,  Westport,  Mo. 

Robert  Ford,  Great  Falls,  Mont. 

Doctor  Case,  Kansas  City,  Mo. 

Benj.  C.  Majors,  May  Bell  P.  O.,  Colo. 

Prof.  Robert  Casey,  Denver,  Colo. 

John  Burroughs,  Colorado. 

Eugene  Munn,  Swift,  Neb. 

Rev.  Dr.  John  R.  Shannon,  Denver,  Colo. 

Thos.  D.  Truett,  Leadville,  Colo. 

Will  C.  Ferril. 

Yours  with  respect, 



Seventy  Years  on  the  Frontier. 



My  father,  Benjamin  Majors,  was  a  farmer,  born  in  the 
State  of  North  Carolina  in  1794,  and  brought  when  a  boy 
by  my  grandfather,  Alexander  Majors,  after  whom  I  am 
named,  to  Kentucky  about  the  year  1800.  My  grandfather 
was  also  a  farmer,  and  one  might  say  a  manufacturer,  for 
in  those  days  nearly  all  the  farmers  in  America  were  manu- 
facturers, producing  almost  everything  within  their  homes 
or  with  their  own  hands,  tanning  their  own  leather,  making 
the  shoes  they  wore,  as  well  as  clothing  of  all  kinds. 

My  mother's  maiden  name  was  Laurania  Kelly;  her  father, 
Beil  Kelly,  was  a  soldier  in  the  Revolutionary  War,  and  was 
wounded  at  the  battle  of  Brandywine. 

I  was  born  in  18 14,  on  the  4th  day  of  October,  near 
Franklin,  Simpson  County,  Kentucky,  being  the  eldest  of 
the  family,  consisting  of  two  boys  and  a  girl.  When  I  was 
about  five  years  of  age  my  father  moved  to  Missouri,  when 
that  State  was  yet  a  Territory.  I  remember  well-many  of 
the  occurrences  of  the  trip;  one  was  that  the  horses  ran 
away  with  the  wagon  in  which  my  father,  myself,  and 
younger  brothers  were  riding.  My  father  threw  us  chil- 
dren out  and  jumped  out  himself,  though  crippled  in  one 
foot  at  the  time.  One  wheel  of  the  wagon  was  broken  to 
pieces,  which  caused  us  a  delay  of  two  days. 



After  crossing  the  Ohio  River,  in  going  through  the  then 
Territory  of  Illinois,  the  settlements  were  from  ten  to 
twenty  miles  apart,  the  squatters  living  in  log  cabins,  and 
along  one  stretch  of  the  road  the  log  cabin  settlements 
were  forty  miles  apart.  When  we  arrived  at  the  Okaw 
River,  in  the  Territory  of  Illinois,  we  found  a  squatter  in 
his  little  log  cabin  whose  occupation  was  ferrying  passen- 
gers across  the  river  in  a  small  flatboat  which  was  pro- 
pelled by  a  cable  or  large  rope  tied  to  a  tree  on  each  side 
of  the  river,  it  being  a  narrow  but  deep  stream.  The  only 
thing  attracting  my  special  attention,  as  a  boy,  at  that 
point  was  a  pet  bear  chained  to  a  stake  just  in  front  of  the 
cabin  where  the  family  lived.  He  was  constantly  jumping 
over  his  chain,  as  is  the  habit  of  pet  bears,  especially  when 

From  this  place  to  St.  Louis,  a  distance  of  about  thirty- 
five  miles,  there  was  not  a  single  settlement  of  any  kind. 
When  we  arrived  on  the  east  bank  of  the  Mississippi  River, 
opposite  the  now  city  of  St.  Louis,  we  saw  a  little  French 
village  on  the  other  side.  The  only  means  of  crossing  the 
river  was  a  small  flatboat,  manned  by  three  Frenchmen, 
one  on  each  side  about  midway  of  the  craft,  each  with  an 
oar  with  which  to  propel  the  boat.  The  third  one  stood  in 
the  end  with  a  steering  oar,  for  the  purpose  of  giving  it  the 
proper  direction  when  the  others  propelled  it.  This  ferry 
would  carry  four  horses  or  a  four-horse  wagon  with  its  load 
at  one  trip.  These  men  were  not  engaged  half  their  time 
in  ferrying  across  the  river  all  the  emigrants,  with  their 
horses,  cattle,  sheep,  and  hogs,  who  were  moving  from  the 
East  to  the  West  and  crossing  at  St.  Louis.  Of  course  the 
current  would  carry  the  boat  a  considerable  distance  down 
the  river  in  spite  of  the  efforts  of  the  boatmen  to  the  con- 
trary. However,  when  they  reached  the  opposite  bank  the 
two    who   worked    the    side    oars    would    lay  down   their 


oars,  go  to  her  bow,  where  a  long  rope  was  attached,  take 
it  up,  put  it  over  their  shoulders,  and  let  it  uncoil  until  it 
gave  them  several  rods  in  front  of  the  boat.  Then  they 
would  start  off  in  a  little  foot-path  made  at  the  water's 
edge  and  pull  the  boat  to  the  place  prepared  for  taking  on 
or  unloading,  as  the  case  might  be.  There  they  loaded  what 
they  wanted  to  ferry  to  the  other  side,  and  the  same  process 
would  be  gone  through  with  as  before.  Reaching  the  west 
bank  of  the  river  we  found  the  village  of  St.  Louis,  with 
4,000  inhabitants,  a  large  portion  of  whom  were  French, 
whose  business  it  was  to  trade  with  the  numerous  tribes  of 
Indians  and  the  few  white  people  who  then  inhabited  that 
region  of  country,  for  furs  of  various  kinds,  buffalo  robes 
and  tongues,  as  this  was  the  only  traffic  out  of  which  money 
could  be  made  at  that  time. 

The  furs  bought  of  the  Indians  were  carried  from  St. 
Louis  to  New  Orleans  in  pirogues  or  flatboats,  which 
were  carried  along  solely  by  the  current,  for  at  that  time 
steam  power  had  never  been  applied  to  the  waters  of  the 
Mississippi  River.  Sixty-seven  years  later,  in  1886,  I  vis- 
ited St.  Louis  and  went  down  to  the  wharf  or  steamboat 
landing,  and  looking  across  to  East  St.  Louis,  which  in 
1 818  was  nothing  but  a  wilderness,  beheld  the  river 
spanned  by  one  of  the  finest  bridges  in  the  world,  over 
which  from  100  to  150  locomotives  with  trains  attached 
were  daily  passing.  Three  big  steam  ferryboats  above 
and  three  below  the  bridge  were  constantly  employed  in 
transferring  freight  of  one  kind  or  another.  What  a 
change  had  taken  place  within  the  memory  of  one  man! 
While  looking  in  amazement  at  the  great  and  mighty 
change,  a  nicely  dressed  and  intelligent  man  passed  by; 
I  said  to  him: 

"  Sir,  I  stood  on  the  other  bank  of  this  river  when  a  little 
boy,  in  the  month  of  October,  1818,  when  there  was  no 


improvement  whatever  over  there"  (pointing  to  the  east 
shore).  I  also  stated  to  him  that  a  little  flatboat,  manned 
by  three  Frenchmen,  was  the  only  means  for  crossing  the 
river  at  that  time.  The  gentleman  took  his  pencil  and  a 
piece  of  paper  and  figured  for  a  few  moments,  and  then 
turning  to  me  said:  "Do  you  know,  sir,  those  three 
Frenchmen,  with  their  boat,  who  did  all  the  work  of  ferry- 
ing, and  were  not  employed  half  the  time,  could  not,  with 
the  facilities  you  speak  of,  in  ioo  years  do  what  is  now 
being  done  in  one  day  with  our  present  means  of  trans- 

Since  that  time,  which  was  six  years  ago,  another  bridge 
has  been  built  to  meet  the  necessities  of  the  increasing 
business  of  that  city,  which  shows  that  progress  and 
increase  of  wealth  and  development  are  still  on  the  rapid 

The  next  thing  of  note,  after  passing  St.  Louis,  occurred 
one  evening  after  we  camped.  My  mother  stepped  on  the 
wagon-tongue  to  get  the  cooking  utensils,  when  her  foot 
slipped  and  she  fell,  striking  her  side  and  receiving  inju- 
ries which  resulted  in  her  death  eighteen  months  later. 

On  that  journey  my  father  traveled  westward,  crossing 
the  Missouri  River  at  St.  Charles,  Mo.,  following  up  the 
river  from  that  point  to  where  Glasgow  is  now  situated, 
and  there  crossed  the  river  to  the  south  side,  and  wintered 
in  the  big  bottoms.  In  the  spring  of  1819  he  moved  to 
what  afterward  became  La  Fayette  County,  and  took 
up  a  location  near  the  Big  Snye  Bear  River. 

In  February,  the  winter  following,  my  dear  mother  died 
from  the  injuries  she  received  from  the  accident  previously 
alluded  to.  The  Rev.  Simon  Cockrell,  a  baptist  preacher, 
who  at  that  time  was  over  eighty  years  of  age,  preached 
her  funeral  sermon.  He  was  the  first  preacher  I  had  ever 
seen  stand  up  before  a  congregation  with  a  book  in  his 


hand.  Although  my  mother  died  when  I  was  little  more 
than  six  years  of  age,  my  memory  of  her  is  apparently  as 
fresh  and  endearing  as  though  her  death  had  occurred  but 
a  few  days  ago.  Many  acts  I  saw  her  do,  and  things  I 
heard  her  say,  impressed  me  with  her  courage  and  good- 
ness, and  their  memory  has  been  a  help  to  me  throughout 
the  whole  career  of  my  long  life.  No  mother  ever  gave 
birth  to  a  son  who  loved  her  more,  or  whose  tender  recol- 
lections have  been  more  endearing  or  lasting  than  mine. 

I  have  never  encountered  any  difficulty  so  great,  no 
matter  how  threatening,  that  I  have  not  been  able  to  over- 
come fearlessly  when  the  recollection  of  my  dear  mother 
and  the  spirit  by  which  she  was  animated  came  to  me. 
Even  to  this  day,  and  I  am  an  old  man  in  my  eightieth 
year,  I  can  not  dwell  long  in  conversation  about  her  with- 
out tears  coming  to  my  eyes.  There  are  no  words  in  the 
English  language  to  express  my  estimate  and  appreciation 
of  the  dear  mother  who  gave  me  birth  and  nourishment. 
I  would  that  all  men  loved  and  held  the  memories  of  their 
mothers  more  sacred  than  I  think  many  of  them  do.  One 
of  the  greatest  safeguards  to  man  throughout  the  meander- 
ings  of  his  life  is  the  love  of  a  father,  mother,  brother  and 
sister,  children  and  friends;  it  is  a  great  solace  and  anchor 
to  right-thinking  men  when  they  may  be  hundreds  and 
thousands  of  miles  away.  Love  of  family  begets  true 
patriotism  in  his  bosom,  for,  in  my  opinion,  there  is  no 
such  thing  as  true  patriotism  without  love  of  family. 

Returning  to  the  events  of  182 1,  we  had  in  the  neighbor- 
hood of  the  Snye  Bear  River  a  great  Indian  scare.  This 
happened  in  the  month  of  August,  when  I  was  in  my 
seventh  year,  after  my  father  had  built  a  log  cabin  for  him- 
self in  that  part  of  the  country  which  afterward  became 
Lafayette  County,  Mo.     My  mother  had  died  the  winter 


before,  leaving   myself,  the  eldest,  a  brother  next,  and  a 
sister  little  more  than  two  years  old. 

Mrs.  Ferrins,  a  settler  who  lived  on  the  outskirts  of  the 
little  settlement  of  pioneers,  was  alone,  except  for  a  baby  a 
year  old.  She  left  the  child  and  went  to  the  spring  for 
water.  When  she  had  filled  her  bucket  and  rose  to  the  top 
of  the  bank,  she  imagined  she  saw  Indians.  She  dropped 
her  bucket,  ran  to  the  cabin,  took  the  child  in  her  arms,  and 
fled  with  all  her  might  to  Thomas  Hopper's,  the  nearest 
neighbor.  As  soon  as  she  came  near  enough  to  be  heard, 
she  shouted  "  Indians  "  at  the  top  of  her  voice.  Polly  Hop- 
per, a  young  girl  of  seventeen,  hearing  Mrs.  Ferrin  shouting 
"  Indians,"  seized  a  bridle  and  ran  to  a  herd  of  horses  that 
were  near  by  in  the  shade  of  some  trees,  caught  a  flea- 
bitten  gray  bell  mare,  the  leader  of  the  herd,  she  being 
gentle  and  easier  to  catch  than  the  others,  mounted  the 
animal  without  saddle,  riding  after  the  fashion  of  men,  and 
started  to  alarm  the  settlement. 

My  father  was  lying  in  bed  taking  a  sweat  to  abate  a 
bilious  fever.  A  family  living  near  by  were  caring  for  us 
children,  and  nursing  my  father  in  his  sickness.  My 
brother  and  I  were  playing  a  little  distance  from  the  cabin 
when  we  heard  the  screams  of  the  woman,  shouting  "  In- 
dians" with  every  jump  the  horse  made,  her  hair  streaming 
out  behind  like  a  banner  in  the  wind.  We  were  on  the 
very  outside  boundary  of  the  settlement,  and  some  signs  of 
Indians  had  been  discovered  a  few  days  previous  by  some 
neighbors  who  were  out  hunting  for  deer.  This  fact  had 
been  made  known  to  the  little  settlement,  and  the  day  this 
scare  took  place  had  been  selected  for  the  men  to  meet  at 
Henry  Rennick's  to  discuss  ways  and  means  for  building  a 
stockade  for  the  protection  of  their  families  in  case  the 
Indians  should  .make  an  attempt  of  a  hostile  nature.  So 
the  first  thoughts  of  the  families  at  home  were  to  start  for 


Rennick's,  where  the  men  were.  This  accounts  for  the 
young  woman  going  by  our  house,  as  she  had  to  pass  our 
cabin  to  reach  that  place.  My  father,  sick  as  he  was, 
jumped  out  of  bed  when  she  passed  giving  the  alarm,  took 
a  heavy  gun  from  the  rack,  hung  his  shot  pouch  over  his 
shoulder,  took  my  little  sister  in  his  arms,  and,  like  the  rest, 
started  for  Rennick's,  my  little  brother  and  I  toddling  along 
behind  him. 

A  family  living  near  by,  consisting  of  the  mother,  Mrs. 
Turner,  two  daughters,  a  son,  and  a  little  grandson,  also 
started  for  Rennick's.  They  would  run  for  a  short  dis- 
tance, and  then  stop  and  hide  in  the  high  weeds  until  they 
could  get  their  breath.  The  old  lady  had  a  small  dog  she 
called  Ging.  He  was  on  hand,  of  course,  and  just  as  much 
excited  as  all  the  rest  of  the  dogs  in  the  neighborhood,  and 
the  people  themselves.  The  screams  of  the  girl  Polly 
Hopper,  and  the  ringing  of  the  bell  on  the  animal  she  was 
riding,  aroused  the  dogs  to  the  highest  pitch  of  excitement. 
In  those  days  dogs  were  a  necessity  to  the  frontiersman  for 
his  protection,  and  as  much  of  a  necessity  on  that  account 
as  any  other  animal  he  possessed,  and  consequently  every 
settler  owned  from  three  to  five  dogs,  and  some  more. 
They  were  the  watch-guards  against  Indians  and  prowling 
beasts,  both  by  night  and  day,  and  could  not  have  been 
dispensed  with  in  the  settling  of  the  frontier. 

To  return  to  our  trip  to  Rennick's:  When  the  old  lady 
and  her  flock  would  run  into  the  weeds  to  hide  and  regain 
their  breath,  this  little  dog  Ging  could  not  be  controlled, 
for  bark  he  would.  The  old  lady  when  angry  would  use 
"cuss  words,"  and  she  used  them  on  this  dog,  and  would 
jump  out  of  her  hiding-place  and  start  on  the  trail  again. 
Of  course  when  the  dog  barked  he  exposed  her  hiding- 
place.  They  would  run  a  little  farther,  and  when  their  breath 
would  fail,  they  would  make  another  hiding  in  the  weeds, 


but  would  scarcely  get  settled  when  the  dog  would  begin 
his  barking  again.  The  old  lady,  with  another  string  of 
"cuss  words,"  would  jump  out  of  the  weeds  and  try  the 
trail  again  a  short  distance.  This  was  repeated  until  they 
reached  Rennick's  almost  prostrate,  as  the  distance  was 
considerably  over  a  mile,  and  the  day  an  exceedingly  hot 
one  about  noon.  My  father,  though  sick,  was  more  fortu- 
nate with  his  little  group  of  children.  When  he  felt  about 
to  faint,  he  would  turn  with  us  into  the  high  weeds  and  sit 
there  quietly,  and,  not  having  any  dog  with  us  to  report  our 
whereabouts,  we  were  completely  hidden  by  the  high  weeds, 
and  had  a  hundred  Indians  passed  they  would  not  have 
discovered  our  hiding-place. 

In  due  time  we  arrived  safe  at  Rennick's,  and  strange 
to  say,  my  father  was  a  well  man,  and  did  not  go  to  bed 
again  on  account  of  the  fever. 

When  Polly  Hopper  reached  Rennick's  and  ran  into  the 
crowd,  she  was  in  a  fainting  condition.  The  men  took  her 
off  the  horse,  laid  her  on  the  ground,  and  administered  cold 
water  and  other  restoratives.  She  soon  regained  con- 
sciousness and  strength,  and  of  course  was  regarded  as  a 
heroine  in  the  neighborhood  after  that  memorable  day. 
One  can  well  imagine  the  excitement  among  the  men 
whose  families  were  at  home  and  exposed,  as  they  thought, 
to  the  mercies  of  the  savages.  They  scattered  immedi- 
ately toward  their  homes  as  rapidly  as  their  horses  would 
carry  them,  fearing  they  might  find  their  families  mur- 
dered. For  hours  after  we  reached  Rennick's  there  con- 
tinued to  be  arrivals  of  women  and  children,  many  times 
in  a  fainting  condition,  and  all  exhausted  from  the  fright, 
the  heat,  and  the  speed  at  which  they  had  run. 

Mr.  Rennick,  who  was  one  of  the  first  pioneers,  soon  had 
more  visitors  than  he  knew  what  to  do  with,  and  more  than 
his  log  cabin   could  shelter.     These  people  remained  in 


and  around  the  cabin  for  two  days,  and  until  the  men  rode 
the  country  over  and  found  the  alarm  had  been  a  false  one 
and  there  were  no  Indians  in  the  neighborhood. 

One  of  the  first  occurrences  of  note  in  the  early  settle- 
ment of  the  West  was  the  visitation  of  grasshoppers,  in 
September,  1820,  an  occurrence  which  had  never  been 
known  by  the  oldest  inhabitants  of  the  Mississippi  Valley. 
They  came  in  such  numbers  as  to  appear  when  in  the  heav- 
ens as  thin  clouds  of  vapor,  casting  a  faint  shadow  upon 
the  earth.  In  twenty-four  hours  after  their  appearance 
every  green  thing,  in  the  nature  of  farm  product,  that  they 
could  eat  or  devour  was  destroyed.  It  so  happened,  how- 
ever, that  they  came  so  late  in  the  season  that  the  early 
corn  had  ripened,  so  they  could  not  damage  that,  other- 
wise a  famine  would  have  resulted.  The  next  appearance 
of  these  pests  was  over  forty  years  later,  in  Western  Mis- 
souri, Nebraska,  and  Kansas,  which  all  well  remember,  as 
there  were  two  or  three  seasons  in  close  proximity  to  each 
other  in  the  sixties  when  Western  farmers  suffered  to  a 
great  extent  from  their  ravages. 

For  five  years,  from  1821  to  1826,  nothing  worthy  of  note 
occurred,  but  everything  moved  along  as  calmly  as  a  sunny 

In  the  month  of  April,  1826,  a  terrible  cyclone  passed 
through  that  section  of  the  country,  leaving  nothing  stand- 
ing in  its  track.  Fortunately  the  country  was  but  sparsely 
settled,  and  no  lives  were  lost.  It  passed  from  a  south- 
westerly direction  to  the  northeast,  tearing  to  pieces  a  belt 
of  timber  about  half-a-mile  wide,  in  that  part  of  the  coun- 
try which  became  Jackson  County,  and  near  where  Inde- 
pendence was  afterward  located,  passing  a  little  to  the  west 
of  that  point. 

The  next  cyclone  that  visited  that  country  was  in  1847; 
this  also  passed  from  the  southwest  to  the  northeast,  pass- 


ing  across  the  outskirts  of  Westport,  which  is  now  a  suburb 
of  Kansas  City.  The  third  and  last  cyclone  that  visited 
that  section  of  the  country,  about  eight  years  ago,  blew 
down  several  houses  in  Kansas  City,  and  killed  a  number  of 
children  who  were  attending  the  High  School,  the  building 
being  demolished  by  the  storm. 



There  was  about  one-fourth  of  the  entire  territory  of 
Missouri  that  was  covered  with  timber,  and  three-fourths 
in  prairie  land,  with  an  annual  growth  of  sage-grass,  as  it 
was  called,  about  one  and  one-half  feet  high,  and  as  thick  as 
it  could  well  grow;  in  fact  the  prairie  lands  in  the  com- 
mencement of  its  settlement  were  one  vast  meadow,  where 
the  farmer  could  cut  good  hay  suitable  for  the  wintering  of 
his  stock  almost  without  regard  to  the  selection  of  the 
spot;  in  other  words,  it  was  meadow  everywhere  outside  of 
the  timber  lands.  This  condition  of  things  would  apply 
also  to  the  States  of  Illinois,  Iowa,  and  some  of  the  other 
Western  States,  with  the  exception  of  Missouri,  which  had 
a  greater  proportion  of  timber  than  either  of  the  others 
mentioned.  The  timber  in  all  these  States  grew  in  belts 
along  the  rivers  and  their  tributaries,  the  prairie  covering 
the  high  rolling  lands  between  the  streams  that  made  up 
the  water  channels  of  those  States. 

Many  of  the  streams  in  the  first  settling  of  these  States 
were  bold,  clear  running  water,  and  many  of  them  in  Mis- 
souri were  sufficiently  strong  almost  the  year  round  to 
afford  good  water  power  for  running  machinery,  and  it  was 
the  prediction  in  the  commencement  of  the  settlement  of 
these  States  by  the  best-informed  people,  that  the  water 
would  increase,  for  the  reason  that  the  swampy  portions  in 
the  bottom  lands,  and  where  there  were  small  lakes,  would, 
by  the  settlement  of  the  country,  become  diverted,  its  force 
to  run  directly  into  and  strengthen  the  larger  streams  for 



all  time  to  come.  And  to  show  how  practical  results  over- 
throw theories,  the  fact  proved  to  be  exactly  the  reverse  of 
their  predictions.  There  has  been  a  continuous  slow  decline 
in  the  natural  flow  of  water-supply  from  the  first  settlement 
of  the  country.  Many  places  that  I  can  now  remember 
that  were  ponds  or  small  lakes,  or  in  other  words  little  res- 
ervoirs, which  held  the  water  for  months  while  it  would  be 
slowly  passing  out  and  feeding  the  streams,  have  now 
become  fields  and  plowed  ground.  Roads  and  ditches  have 
been  made  that  let  the  water  off  at  once  after  a  rainfall. 
The  result  has  been  that  streams  that  used  to  turn  ma- 
chinery have  become  not  much  more  than  outlets  for  the 
heavy  rainfalls  that  occur  in  the  rainy  season,  and  if  twenty 
of  those  streams,  each  one  of  which  had  water  enough  to  run 
machinery  seventy  years  ago,  were  all  put  together  now  into 
one  stream,  there  would  not  be  sufficient  power  to  run  a 
good  plant  of  machinery.  The  numerous  springs  that 
could  be  found  on  every  forty  or  eighty  acres  of  land  in  the 
beginning,  have  very  many  of  them  entirely  failed. 

The  wells  of  twenty  or  thirty  feet  in  depth  that  used  to 
afford  any  quantity  of  water  for  family  uses,  many  of  them 
in  order  to  get  water  supplies  have  to  be  sunk  to  a  much 
greater  depth.  Little  streams  that  used  to  afford  any  quan- 
tity of  water  for  the  stock  have  dried  up,  giving  no  water 
supply  only  in  times  of  abundance  of  rain.  All  the  first 
settlers  in  the  State  located  along  the  timber  belts,  without 
an  exception,  and  cultivated  the  timber  lands  to  produce 
their  grain  and  vegetables.  It  was  many  years  after  the 
forest  lands  were  settled  before  prairie  lands  were  cultivated 
to  any  extent,  and  it  was  found  later  that  the  prairie  lands 
were  more  fertile  than  they  gave  them  credit  for  being 
before  real  tests  in  the  way  of  farming  were  made  with  them. 
The  sage  grass  had  the  tenacity  to  stand  a  great  deal  of 
grazing  and  tramping  over,  and  still  grow  to  considerable 


perfection.  It  required  years  of  grazing  upon  the  prairie 
before  the  wild  grass,  which  was  universal  in  the  beginning, 
gave  way,  but  in  the  timber  portions  the  vegetation  that 
was  found  in  the  first  settling  of  the  land  gave  way  almost 
at  once.  In  two  years  from  the  time  a  farmer  moved  upon 
a  new  spot  and  turned  his  stock  loose  upon  it,  the  original 
wild  herbs  that  were  found  there  disappeared  and  other 
vegetation  took  its  place.  The  land  being  exceedingly  fer- 
tile, never  failed  to  produce  a  crop  of  vegetation,  and  when 
one  variety  did  appear  and  cover  the  entire  surface  as  thick 
as  it  could  grow  for  a  few  years,  it  seemed  to  exhaust  the 
quality  of  the  soil  that  produced  that  kind,  and  that  vari- 
ety would  give  way  and  something  new  come  up. 

The  older  the  country  has  become,  as  a  rule,  the  more 
obnoxious  has  been  the  vegetation  that  the  soil  has  pro- 
duced of  its  own  accord.  But  there  has  been  in  my  recol- 
lection, which  goes  back  more  than  seventy  years,  a  great 
many  changes  in  the  crops  of  vegetation  on  those  lands, 
showing  to  my  satisfaction  that  there  is  an  inherent  potency 
in  nature,  in  rich  soil  that  will  cover  itself  every  year  with  a 
growth  of  some  kind.  If  it  is  not  cultivated  and  made  to 
produce  fruit,  vegetables,  and  cereals,  it  will  nevertheless 
produce  a  crop  of  some  kind. 

The  first  settlers  in  the  Mississippi  Valley  were  as  a  rule 
poor  people,  who  were  industrious,  economizing,  and  self- 
sustaining.  From  ninety-five  to  ninety-seven  per  cent  of 
the  entire  population  manufactured  at  home  almost  every- 
thing necessary  for  good  living.  A  great  many  of  them 
when  they  were  crossing  the  Ohio  and  Mississippi  to  their 
new  homes  would  barely  have  money  enough  to  pay  their 
ferriage  across  the  rivers,  and  one  of  the  points  in  selling 
out  whatever  they  had  to  spare  when  they  made  up  their 
minds  to  emigrate  was  to  be  sure  to  have  cash  enough  with 
them  to  pay  their  ferriage.  They  generally  carried  with 


them  a  pair  of  chickens,  ducks,  geese,  and  if  possible  a  pair 
of  pigs,  their  cattle  and  horses.  The  wife  took  her  spin- 
ning wheel,  a  bunch  of  cotton  or  flax,  and  was  ready  to  go 
to  spinning  as  soon  as  she  landed  on  the  premises,  often 
having  her  cards  and  wheel  at  work  before  her  husband 
could  build  a  log  cabin.  Going  into  a  land,  as  it  was  then, 
that  flowed  with  milk  and  honey  they  were  enabled  by  the 
use  of  their  own  hands  and  brains  to  make  an  independent 
and  good  living.  There  was  any  quantity  of  game,  bear, 
elk,  deer,  wild  turkeys,  and  wild  honey  to  be  found  in 
the  woods,  so  that  no  man  with  a  family,  who  had  pluck 
and  energy  enough  about  him  to  stir  around,  ever  need  to 
be  without  a  supply  of  food.  At  that  time  nature  afforded 
the  finest  of  pasture,  both  summer  and  winter,  for  his 

While  the  people  as  a  rule  were  not  educated,  many  of 
them  very  illiterate  as  far  as  education  was  concerned,  they 
were  thoroughly  self-sustaining  when  it  came  to  the 
knowledge  required  to  do  things  that  brought  about  a 
plentiful  supply  of  the  necessities  of  life.  In  those  times 
all  were  on  an  equality,  for  each  man  and  his  family  had  to 
produce  what  was  required  to  live  upon,  and  when  one  man 
was  a  little  better  dressed  than  another  there  could  be  no 
complaint  from  his  neighbor,  for  each  one  had  the  same 
means  in  his  hands  to  bring  about  like  results,  and  he 
could  not  say  his  neighbor  was  belter  dressed  than  he  was 
because  he  had  cheated  some  other  neighbor  out  of  some- 
thing, and  bought  the  dress;  for  at  that  time  the  goods  all 
had  to  come  to  them  in  the  same  way — by  their  own  indus- 
try. There  was  but  little  stealing  or  cheating  among  them. 
There  was  no  money  to  steal,  and  if  a  man  stole  a  piece  of 
jeans  or  cloth  of  any  kind  he  would  be  apprehended  at 
once.  Society  at  that  time  was  homogeneous  and  simple, 
and  opportunities   for  vice  were   very  rare.     There    were 


very  few  old  bachelors  and  old  maids,  for  about  the  only 
thing  a  young  man  could  do  when  he  became  twenty-one, 
and  his  mother  quit  making  his  clothes  and  doing  his  wash- 
ing, was  to  marry  one  of  his  neighbor's  daughters.  The 
two  would  then  work  together,  as  was  the  universal  custom, 
and  soon  produce  with  their  own  hands  abundance  of 
supplies  to  live  upon. 

The  country  was  new,  and  when  a  young  man  got  married 
his  father  and  brothers,  and  his  wife's  father  and  brothers, 
often  would  turn  out  and  help  him  put  up  a  log  cabin, 
which  work  required  only  a  few  days,  and  he  and  his  spouse 
would  move  into  it  at  once.  They  would  go  to  work  in 
the  same  way  as  their  fathers  had  done,  and  in  a  few  years 
would  be  just  as  independent  as  the  old  people.  The 
young  ladies  most  invariably  spun  and  wove,  and  made 
their  bridal  dresses.  At  that  time  there  were  millions  of 
acres  of  land  that  a  man  could  go  and  squat  on,  build  his 
cabin,  and  sometimes  live  for  years  upon  it  before  the  land 
would  come  into  market,  and  with  the  prosperity  attending 
such  undertakings,  as  a  general  thing  would  manage  in 
some  way,  when  the  land  did  come  into  market,  to  pay 
$1.25  per  acre  for  as  much  as  he  required  for  the  mainte- 
nance of  his  family. 

Men  in  those  days  who  came  to  Missouri  and  looked  at 
the  land  often  declined  to  select  a  home  in  the  State  on 
account  of  their  having  no  market  for  their  products,  as 
above  stated,  everybody  producing  all  that  was  needed  for 
home  consumption  and  often  a  surplus,  but  were  so  far 
away  from  any  of  the  large  cities  of  the  country,  without 
transportation  of  either  steamboats  or  railroads,  for  it  was 
before  the  time  of  steamboats,  much  less  railroads — for 
neither  of  them  in  my  early  recollections  were  in  existence — 
to  make  them  channels  of  business  and  trade.     Men  in  the 


early  settlement  often  wondered  if  the  rich  land  of  the 
State  would  ever  be  worth  $5  per  acre. 

Missouri  at  that  time  was  considered  the  western  confines 
of  civilization,  and  it  was  believed  then  that  there  never 
would  be  in  the  future  any  white  settlements  of  civilized 
people  existing  between  the  western  borders  of  Missouri 
and  the  Pacific  Coast,  unless  it  might  be  the  strip  between 
the  Sierra  Nevada  Mountains  and  the  Pacific  Ocean, 
which  the  people  at  that  time  knew  but  little  or  nothing 

In  1820  and  1830  there  were  a  great  many  peaceable 
tribes  of  Indians,  located  by  the  Government  all  along  the 
western  boundary  of  Missouri,  in  what  was  then  called  the 
Indian  Territory,  and  has  since  then  become  the  States  of 
Kansas,  Nebraska,  and  Oklahoma  Territory.  I  remember 
the  names  of  many  of  the  tribes  who  were  our  nearest 
neighbors  across  the  line,  and  among  them  were  the 
Shawnees,  Delawares,  Wyandottes,  Kickapoos,  Miamis, 
Sacs,  Foxes,  Osages,  Peorias,  and  Iowas,  all  of  whom  were 
perfectly  friendly  and  docile,  and  lived  for  a  great  many 
years  in  close  proximity  to  the  white  settlers,  even  coming 
among  them  to  trade  without  any  outbreaks  or  trespassing 
upon  the  rights  of  the  white  people  in  any  way  or  manner 
worth  mentioning. 

There  was  a  long  period  existing  from  1825  to  1S60 
of  perfect  harmony  between  these  tribes  and  the  white 
people,  and  in  fact  even  to  this  day  there  is  no  disturbance 
between  these  tribes  and  their  neighbors,  the  whites.  The 
Indian  troubles  have  been  among  the  Sioux,  Arapahoes, 
Cheyennes,  Apaches,  Utes,  and  some  other  minor  tribes, 
all  of  which,  at  the  present  time,  seem  to  have  submitted  to 
their  fate  in  whatever  direction  it  may  lie.  There  is  one 
remark  that  I  will  venture  here,  and  it  is  this,  that  while 
the  white  people  were  in  the  power  of  the  Indians  and 


understood  it,  we  got  along  with  the  Indian  a  great  deal 
better  than  when  the  change  to  the  white  people  took 
place.  In  the  early  days  white  men  respected  the  Indian's 
rights  thoroughly,  and  would  not  be  the  aggressors,  and 
often  they  were  at  the  mercy  of  the  Indians,  but  as  soon  as 
they  began  to  feel  that  they  could  do  as  they  pleased, 
became  more  aggressive  and  had  less  regard  for  what  the 
Indian  considered  his  rights.  Then  in  the  early  days 
Indians  were  paid  their  annuities  in  an  honest  way,  and 
there  was  no  feeling  among  them  that  they  were  mis- 
treated by  the  agent  whose  duty  it  was  to  pay  them  this 

I  was  acquainted  with  one  Indian  agent  by  the  name  of 
Major  Cummings,  who  for  a  long  time  was  a  citizen  of 
Jackson  County,  and  for  a  great  many  years  agent  for  a 
number  of  the  tribes  living  along  the  borders  of  Missouri. 
There  never  was  a  complaint  or  even  a  suspicion,  to  the 
best  of  my  knowledge,  that  he  or  his  clerks  ever  took  one 
cent  of  the  annuities  that  belonged  to  the  Indians.  The 
money  was  paid  to  them  in  silver,  either  in  whole  or  half 
dollars,  and  the  head  of  every  family  received  every  cent 
of  his  quota.  Therefore  we  had  a  long  period  of  quiet  and 
peace  with  our  red  brethren.  It  is  only  since  the  late  war 
that  there  has  been  so  much  complaint  from  the  Indians 
with  reference  to  the  scanty  allowances  and  poor  food  and 



In  the  summer  of  1827  my  father,  Benjamin  Majors, 
with  twenty-four  other  men,  formed  a  party  to  go  to  the 
Rocky  Mountains  in  search  of  a  silver  mine  that  had  been 
discovered  by  James  Cockrell,*  while  on  a  beaver-trapping 
expedition  some  four  years  previous. 

At  that  time,  men  attempting  to  cross  the  plains  had  no 
means  of  carrying  food  supplies  to  last  more  than  a  week, 
or  ten  days  at  the  outside.  When  their  scanty  supply  of 
provisions  was  exhausted,  they  depended  solely  upon  the 
game  they  might  chance  to  kill,  invariably  eating  this  with- 
out salt.  These  twenty-five  men  elected  James  Cockrell 
their  captain,  as  he  was  the  only  man  of  the  party  who  had 
crossed  the  plains.  Being  the  discoverer  of  what  he  claimed 
was  a  rich  silver  mine,  they  relied  solely  upon  him  to  pilot 
them  to  the  spot.  The  only  facilities  for  transportation 
were  one  horse  each.  Their  scant  amount  of  bedding,  with 
the  rider,  was  all  the  horse  could  carry.  Each  man  had  to  be 
armed  with  a  good  gun,  and  powder  and  ball  enough  to  last 
him  during  the  entire  trip,  for  the  territory  through  which 
they  had  to  pass  was  inhabited  by  hostile  Indians.  No 
cooking  vessels  were  taken  with  them,  as  they  depended 
entirely  upon  roasting  or  broiling  their  meat  upon  the  fire. 
When  they  could  not  find  deer,  antelope,  elk,  or  buffalo 
they  had  to  do  without  food,  unless  they  were  driven  to  kill 
and  eat  a  wolf  they  might  chance  to  get.  When  they 
reached  the  buffalo  belt,  however,  200  miles  farther  west, 

*  An  uncle  of  Senator  Cockrell  of  Missouri. 



there  was  no  scarcity  of  meat.  The  country  where  they 
roamed  was  400  miles  across,  reaching  to  the  base  of  the 
Rocky  Mountains,  and  extending  from  Texas  more  than 
3,000  miles,  very  far  north  of  the  Canadian  line.  The 
buffalo  were  numbered  by  the  millions.  It  often  occurred 
in  traveling  through  this  district  that  there  would  be  days 
together  when  one  would  never  be  out  of  sight  of  great 
herds  of  these  animals.  They  stayed  in  the  most  open 
portion  of  the  plains  they  could  find,  for  the  country  was 
one  vast  plain,  or  level  prairie.  The  grass  called  buffalo 
grass  did  not  grow  more  than  one  and  one-half  to  two 
inches  high,  but  grew  almost  as  thick  in  many  places  as 
the  hair  on  a  dog's  back.  Other  grasses  that  were  found 
in  this  locality  grew  much  taller,  but  one  would  invariably 
find  the  buffalo  grazing  upon  the  short  kind,  especially  so 
in  the  winter,  as  the  high  winds  blew  the  snow  away  from 
where  this  grass  grew.  There  were  millions  of  acres  of  this 
grass.  The  buffalo's  teeth  and  under  jaw  were  so  arranged 
by  nature  that  he  could  bite  this  short  grass  to  the  earth; 
in  fact  no  small  animal,  such  as  a  sheep,  goat,  or  antelope, 
could  cut  the  grass  more  closely  than  the  largest  buffalo. 
Strange  to  say  this  short  grass  of  the  prairie  is  rapidly  dis- 
appearing, as  the  buffaloes  have  done.  In  crossing  the 
plains  with  our  oxen  in  later  years  we  found  it  impossible 
for  them  to  get  a  living  by  grazing  on  the  portions  of  the 
plains  where  this  grass  grew. 

The  party  in  question  soon  reached  the  Raton  Mount- 
ains not  far  from  Trinidad,  now  on  the  Atchison,  Topeka 
&  Santa  Fe  Railroad.  It  is  proper  to  state  that  after  leav- 
ing their  homes  in  Jackson  and  Lafayette  counties,  Mo., 
they  traveled  across  the  prairie,  bearing  a  little  south  of 
west,  until  they  reached  the  Big  Bend,  or  Great  Bend,  as  it 
is  lately  called,  of  the  Arkansas  River.  At  this  point  they 
found  innumerable  herds  of  buffalo,  and  no  trouble  in  find- 


ing  grass  and  water  in  plenty,  as  well  as  meat.  They  fol- 
lowed the  margin  of  the  river  until  they  reached  the  foot- 
hills of  the  Rocky  Mountains;  then  their  captain  told  them 
he  was  in  the  region  where  he  had  discovered  the  mine.  He 
found  some  difficulty  in  locating  the  spot,  and  after  many 
days  spent  in  searching,  some  of  the  party  grew  restless 
and  distrustful,  doubting  as  to  whether  he  ever  discovered 
silver  ore,  or  if  so,  if  he  was  willing  to  show  them  the  loca- 
tion, and  became  very  threatening  in  their  attitude  toward 
him.  He  finally  found  what  he  and  they  had  supposed 
was  silver  ore.  This  fact  pacified  the  party  and  perhaps 
saved  his  life,  as  it  was  a  long  way  for  men  to  travel 
through  peril  and  hardships  only  to  be  disappointed,  or, 
as  they  expressed  it,  "to  be  fooled."  They  were  disap- 
pointed, however,  when  they  found  nothing  but  dirty-look- 
ing rock,  with  now  and  then  a  bright  speck  of  metal  in  it. 
Not  one  of  them  had  ever  seen  silver  ore,  nor  did  they 
know  anything  about  manipulating  the  rock  in  order  to 
get  the  silver  out  of  it.  Many  of  them  expected  to 
find  the  silver  in  metallic  form,  and  thought  they  could  cut 
it  out  with  their  tomahawks  and  pack  home  a  good  portion 
of  wealth  upon  their  horses.  They  thought  they  could 
walk  and  lead  their  horses  if  they  could  get  a  load  of 
precious  metal  to  carry,  as  their  captain  had  done  a  few 
years  before,  when  he  sold  his  beaver  skins  in  St.  Louis, 
took  his  pay  in  silver  dollars,  put  them  in  a  sack,  bought  a 
horse  to  carry  it,  and  led  him  300  miles  to  his  home. 

It  must  be  remembered  that  this  was  the  first  prospect- 
ing party  to  look  for  silver  that  ever  left  the  western  bor- 
ders of  Missouri  for  the  Rocky  Mountains.  After  finding 
what  they  supposed  was  a  silver  mine,  each  one  selected 
some  of  the  best  specimens  and  left  for  their  homes. 
Everything  moved  along  well  with  them  until  they  arrived 
at  about  the  point-on  the  Arkansas  River  where  Dodge  City 


now  stands.  They  camped  one  evening  at  the  close  of  a 
day's  travel,  ate  a  hearty  supper  of  buffalo  meat,  put  their 
guard  around  their  horses,  and  went  to  bed.  Two  men  at 
a  time  guarded  the  horses,  making  a  change  every  three 
hours  during  the  night.  This  precaution  was  necessary  to 
keep  the  Indians,  who  were  in  great  numbers  and  hostile, 
from  running  off  their  horses.  But  on  that  fatal  night  the 
Indians  succeeded  in  crawling  on  their  bellies  where  the 
grass  was  tall  enough  to  conceal  them  from  the  guard.  It 
was  only  along  the  river  bottoms  and  water  courses  that 
the  grass  grew  tall.  When  they  got  between  the  guard  and 
the  horses,  they  suddenly  rose,  firing  their  guns,  shaking 
buffalo  robes,  and  with  war-whoops  and  yells  succeeded  in 
frightening  the  horses  to  an  intense  degree.  Then  the 
Indians  who  were  in  reserve,  mounted  on  ponies,  ran  the 
horses  off  where  their  owners  never  heard  of  or  saw  them 
afterward.  Part  of  the  Indians,  at  the  same  time,  turned 
their  guns  upon  the  men  that  were  lying  upon  the  bank  of 
the  river.  They  jumped  out  of  their  beds,  over  the  bank 
and  into  the  water  knee-deep.  The  men,  by  stooping 
under  the  bank,  which  was  four  feet  perpendicular,  were 
protected  from  the  arrows  and  bullets  of  the  enemy. 
There  they  stood  for  the  remainder  of  that  cold  October 
night.  One  of  the  party,  a  man  named  Mark  Foster,  when 
they  jumped  over  the  bank,  did  not  stop,  but  ran  as  fast  as 
he  could  go  for  the  other  side.  The  water  was  shallow, 
not  being  more  than  knee-deep  anywhere,  and  in  some 
places  not  half  that  depth.  The  bottom  was  sandy,  and  at 
that  place  the  river  was  some  400  yards  wide.  In  running 
in  the  dark  of  the  night,  with  the  uneven  bottom  of  the 
river,  Mr.  Foster  fell  several  times.  Each  time  it  drew  a  yell 
from  the  Indians,  who  thought  they  had  killed  him,  for 
they  were  shooting  at  him  as  he  ran.  After  being  three 
times  ducked,  he  reached  the   other  side   and   dry   land. 


His  clothes  were  thoroughly  drenched,  and  his  gun,  which 
was  a  flint-lock  and  muzzle-loader,  entirely  useless.  Just 
think  of  a  man  in  that  condition — his  gun  disabled,  appar- 
ently a  thousand  wolves  howling  around  him  in  all  direc- 
tions, the  darkness  of  the  night,  the  yelling  of  the  Indians 
on  the  other  side,  and  400  miles  from  home;  the  only  liv- 
ing white  man,  unless  some  of  his  comrades  happened  not 
to  be  killed.  He  remained  there  shivering  with  the  cold 
the  rest  of  the  night.  When  daylight  appeared  he  started 
to  cross  the  river  to  the  camp  to  find  out  whether  his  com- 
rades were  dead  or  alive.  He  reached  the  middle  of  the 
river  and  halted,  his  object  being  to  see,  if  possible,  whether 
it  was  the  Indians  or  his  party  that  he  could  see  through 
the  slight  fog  that  was  rising  and  slowly  moving  west- 
ward and  up  the  river.  His  comrades,  who  fortunately 
were  alive,  could  hear,  in  the  still  of  the  morning, 
every  step  he  made  in  the  water.  After  standing  a  short 
time  he  decided  that  the  men  he  saw  moving  about 
were  Indians,  and  he  was  confirmed  in  the  belief  that  all 
his  party  were  killed,  so  he  ran  back  to  where  he  had 
spent  such  a  doleful  part  of  the  night  and  there  remained 
until  the  fog  entirely  cleared  away.  He  then  could  see 
that  the  men  at  the  camp  from  where  he  fled  were  his 
comrades.  He  returned  within  about  sixty  yards  from 
where  they  were,  stopped  and  called  to  my  father,  who 
answered  him,  after  some  persuasion  from  the  rest  of  the 
party,  for  they  all  felt  ugly  toward  him,  thinking  he  had 
acted  the  coward  in  doing  as  he  did.  When  my  father 
answered  his  call,  he  asked  if  they  would  allow  him  to  join 
them.  After  holding  a  consultation  it  was  agreed  that  he 
might  come.  He  walked  firmly  up  to  them  and  remarked: 
"  I  have  something  to  say  to  you,  gentlemen.  It  is  this: 
I  know  you  think  I  have  acted  the  d — d  coward,  and  I  do 
not  blame  you   under  the  circumstances.     When  you  all 


jumped  over  the  bank  I  thought  you  were  going  to  run 
to  the  other  side,  and  I  did  not  know  any  better  until  I  had 
got  so  far  out  I  was  in  greater  danger  to  return  than  to  go 
ahead.  For,  as  you  know,  the  Indians  were  sending  vol- 
leys of  bullets  and  arrows  after  me,  and  really  thought  they 
had  killed  me  every  time  I  fell.  Now,  to  end  this  question, 
there  is  one  of  two  things  you  must  do.  The  first  is  that 
you  take  your  guns  and  kill  me  now,  or  if  you  do  not  com- 
ply with  this,  that  every  one  of  you  agree  upon  your  sacred 
honor  that  you  will  never  allude,  in  any  way,  or  throw  up 
to  me  the  unfortunate  occurrences  of  last  night.  Now, 
gentlemen,  mark  what  I  say.  If  you  do  not  kill  me,  but 
allow  me  to  travel  with  you  to  our  homes,  should  one  of 
you  ever  be  so  thoughtless  or  forgetful  of  the  promise  you 
must  now  make  as  to  throw  it  up  to  me,  I  pledge  myself 
before  you  all  that  I  will  take  the  life  of  the  man  who  does 
it.  Now,  I  have  presented  the  situation  fairly,  and  you 
must  accept  one  or  the  other  before  you  leave  this  spot." 

The  party  with  one  accord,  after  hearing  his  story, 
agreed  never  to  allude  to  it  in  any  way  in  his  presence,  and 
gave  him  a  cordial  welcome  to  their  midst.  They  treated 
him  as  one  of  them  from  that  time  on,  for  he  was  a  brave 
man  after  all.  Think  of  the  awful  experience  the  poor 
fellow  had  during  the  night,  and  in  the  morning,  to  reach 
an  amicable  understanding  with  his  party.  One  can  readily 
see  that  he  was  a  man  of  very  great  courage  and  physical 
endurance,  or  he  could  not  have  survived  the  pressure 
upon  him.  It  was  a  sad  time  for  those  twenty-five  brave 
men  for  more  reasons  than  one.  Knowing  that  they  were 
400  miles  from  home,  late  in  the  fall,  without  a  road  or 
path  to  follow,  no  stopping  place  of  any  kind  between  them 
and  their  homes  on  the  borders  of  the  Missouri,  which  was 
as  far  as  civilization  had  reached  westward.  The  thought 
that  impressed  them  most  deeply  was  in  reference  to  one 


of  their  comrades  by  the  name  of  Clark  Davis,  whom  they 
all  loved  and  honored.  He  was  a  man  weighing  300 
pounds,  but  not  of  large  frame,  his  weight  consisting  more 
of  fat  than  bone.  It  was  the  universal  verdict  of  the  party 
that  it  would  be  impossible  for  him  to  walk  home  and  carry 
his  gun  and  ammunition  as  they  all  had  to  do.  They 
would  go  aside  in  little  groups,  so  he  would  not  hear  them, 
and  deplore  the  situation.  They  thought  they  would  have 
to  leave  him  sitting  in  the  prairie  for  the  wolves  to  devour, 
or  hazard  the  lives  of  all  the  rest  of  the  party.  Some 
actually  wept  over  the  thought  of  the  loss  of  such  a  dear 
comrade  and  noble-hearted  man.  Should  they  chance  to 
reach  their  own  homes,  for  they  were  all  men  with  families, 
the  idea  of  telling  his  family  that  they  were  obliged  to 
leave  him  was  more  than  they  felt  their  nerves  could 
endure.  In  my  opinion  there  never  was  a  more  brave  and 
heroic  group  of  men  thrown  together  than  were  those 
twenty-five  frontiersmen.  All  were  fine  specimens  of  man- 
hood, physically  speaking,  between  thirty  and  forty  years 
of  age,  and  with  perfect  health  and  daring  to  do  whatever 
their  convictions  dictated. 

They  went  to  work  and  burned  their  saddles,  bridles, 
blankets,  in  fact  everything  they  had  in  camp  that  they 
could  not  carry  with  them  on  their  backs.  This  they  did 
to  prevent  the  Indians  from  getting  any  more  "booty." 
After  all  their  arrangements  were  made  for  leaving  their 
unfortunate  camping-place,  they  started  once  more  for 
their  homes.  They  traveled  at  the  rate  of  twenty  to 
twenty-five  miles  per  day.  They  could  have  gone  farther, 
but  for  the  fact  that  they  had  no  trail  to  walk  in.  The 
grass  in  some  places,  and  the  drifting  sand  in  others,  made 
it  exceedingly  irksome  for  footmen. 

My  father  was  frequently  asked  after  his  return: 

"  Was  there  no  road  you  could  follow? " 


He  would  answer: 

"  No,  from  the  fact  that  the  drifting  sand  soon  filled 
every  track  of  a  passing  caravan  and  no  trace  was  left  of  a 
trail  a  few  hours  afterward." 

A  few  years  later  on  this  shifting  of  sand  discontinued, 
and  grass  and  small  shrubbery  soon  began  to  grow  and 
cover  many  places  that  were  then  perfectly  bare.  One-half 
of  the  distance  they  had  to  walk  was  covered  with  herds  of 
buffalo,  the  other  half  was  through  desolate  prairie  country, 
where  game  of  any  kind  was  seldom  seen.  It  was  on  this 
part  of  their  journey  that  they  came  near  starvation.  It 
only  took  them  a  few  days  after  leaving  the  buffalo  belt  to 
consume  what  meat  they  had  carried  on  their  backs,  as  men 
become  very  hungry  and  consume  a  great  deal  of  meat 
when  they  have  long  and  tiresome  walks  to  make.  In  the 
first  week  of  their  march  their  convictions  in  regard  to 
Clark  Davis  were  confirmed,  as  they  thought,  for  his  feet 
blistered  in  a  terrible  manner,  his  fat  limbs  became  exceed- 
ingly raw  and  sore,  so  he  of  necessity  would  lag.  Then 
they  would  detail  of  a  morning  when  they  started,  a  guard 
of  five  or  six  men  to  remain  with  him  for  protection  from 
the  Indians.  The  rest  of  the  party  would  walk  on  to  some 
point  they  would  designate  for  camping  the  next  night,  and 
he  with  his  little  guard  would  arrive  some  three  or  four 
hours  later.  This  went  on  for  seven  or  eight  days  in  suc- 
cession, each  day  they  expecting  the  news  from  the  guard 
that  he  had  given  up  the  hope  of  going  any  farther.  But 
in  time  his  feet  began  to  improve,  in  fact  his  condition 
every  way,  and  he  would  reach  camp  sooner  each  day  after 
the  arrival  of  the  party.  After  they  had  passed  the  buf- 
falo belt,  where  meat  was  abundant,  and  struck  the  starva- 
tion belt  in  their  travels,  Mr.  Davis'  fat  proved  a  blessing 
and  of  great  service.  When  fatigue  and  want  were  to  be 
endured  at  the  same  time,  he  began  to  take  the  lead  instead 


of  the  rear  of  the  party.  Several  days  before  they  reached 
home  they  would  have  perished,  but  for  the  fact  that  he 
alone  had  sufficient  activity  and  strength  to  attempt  to  hunt 
for  game,  for  they  had  seen  none  after  leaving  the  buffalo. 
They  had  reached  a  place  called  Council  Grove — now  a 
city  of  that  name — in  the  State  of  Kansas,  about  one  hun- 
dred and  thirty  miles  from  their  homes.  After  so  many 
weeks  of  hard  marching  they  thought  they  could  go  no 
farther,  and  some  dropped  on  the  ground,  thinking  it  use- 
less to  make  the  attempt.  At  this  juncture  Clark  Davis 

"  Boys,  I  will  go  and  kill  a  deer." 

My  father  said  the  very  word  was  tantalizing  to  a  lot  of 
men  who  were  almost  dying  of  hunger.  They  did  not 
know  there  was  a  deer  in  the  country,  or  anything  else  that 
could  be  eaten,  not  even  a  snake,  for  cold  weather  was  so 
near  even  they  had  disappeared.  Davis,  however,  deter- 
mined on  his  hunt,  left  his  comrades,  and  had  traveled  only 
a  few  hundred  yards  until  he  saw  two  fine  deer  standing 
near.  Directly  the  men  in  the  camp  heard  the  report  of 
his  gun,  and  as  soon  as  he  could  reload  they  heard  a  second 
report,  and  then  a  shout,  "  Come  here,  boys!  there  is  meat  in 
plenty."  You  may  imagine  it  was  not  long  until  everyone 
joined  him.  They  drank  every  drop  of  blood  that  was  in 
the  two  deer,  ate  the  livers  without  cooking,  and  saved 
every  particle,  even  taking  the  marrow  out  of  their  legs. 
This  meat  tided  them  over  until  they  were  able  to  reach 
other  food. 

Never  before  in  the  history  of  the  past,  nor  since  that 
time,  did  150  pounds  of  surplus  fat — so  considered  until 
starvation  overtook  them — prove  to  be  of  such  great  value, 
and  was  worth  more  to  them  than  all  the  gold  and  silver  in 
the  Rocky  Mountains.  When  the  test  came,  it  was  found 
t'j  be  one  of  nature's  reservoirs  that  could  be  drawn  upon 


to  save  the  lives  of  twenty-five  brave  men  when  all  else 
failed  them.  Mr.  Davis,  as  well  as  the  rest  of  the  party,  no 
doubt  often  wished  it  could  be  dispensed  with,  as  after 
losing  his  horse  he  carried  it  with  great  suffering  and 
fatigue,  before  they  learned  its  use,  and  that  it  was  to  be 
the  salvation  of  the  party.  We  often  hear  it  said  that  truth 
is  stranger  than  fiction,  and  this  certainly  was  one  of  the 
cases  where  it  proved  to  be  so. 

They  finally  reached  home  without  losing  one  of  their 
party;  but  they  all  gave  the  man  whom  they  expected  to 
leave  to  the  wolves  in  the  start  the  credit  of  saving  their 
lives.  When  Mr.  Davis  reached  his  family  the  first  thing 
his  wife  did  was  to  set  him  a  good  meal.  When  he  sat 
down  to  the  table  he  said,  "  Jane,  there  is  to  be  a  new  law 
for  the  future  of  our  lives  at  our  table."  She  said, 
"What  is  it,  Clark?"  He  answered,  "  It  is  this.  I  never 
want  to  hear  you  or  one  of  my  children  say  bread  again." 
'■What  then  must  we  call  it?"  asked  his  wife.  "Call  it 
bready,"  said  he,  "  for  when  I  was  starving  on  the  plains  it 
came  to  me  that  the  word  bread  was  too  short  and  coarse 
a  name  to  call  such  sweet,  precious,  and  good  a  thing,  and 
whoever  eats  it  should  use  this  pet  name  and  be  thankful 
to  God  who  gives  it,  for  I  assure  you,  wife,  the  ordeal  I 
have  passed  through  will  forever  cause  me  to  appreciate 
life  and  the  good  things  that  uphold  it." 

The  outcome  of  this  trip  was  drawing  the  party  together, 
like  one  family,  and  they  could  not  be  kept  long  apart.  It  is 
a  fact  that  mutual  suffering  begets  an  endearment  stronger 
than  ties  of  blood.  It  was  interesting  to  me  as  a  boy  to 
hear  them  relate  their  experiences  in  reference  to  their 
hard  trials  and  forebodings  that  were  undergone,  with  no 
beneficial  results.  Some  of  them'  sent  their  specimens  to 
St.  Louis  to  be  tested  for  silver,  but  received  discouraging 
accounts  of  its  value.     If  a  very  rich  mine  had  been  found 


at  that  time  it  would  not  have  been  of  any  practical  value, 
for  they  were  more  than  thirty  years  ahead  of  the  time  when 
silver-mining  could  be  carried  on,  from  an  American  stand- 
point, with  success.  There  was  no  one  west  of  the  Alle- 
ghanies  with  capital  and  skill  enough  to  carry  on  such  an 
enterprise,  and  there  were  no  means  whatever  for  trans- 
porting machinery  to  the  Rocky  Mountains. 



Nothing  of  very  great  note  occurred  in  the  county  of 
Jackson,  after  the  cyclone  of  1826,  until  the  year  1830, 
when  five  Mormon  elders  made  their  appearance  in  the 
county  and  commenced  preaching,  stating  to  their  audi- 
ences that  they  were  chosen  by  the  priesthood  which  had 
been  organized  by  the  prophet  Joseph  Smith,  who  had  met 
an  angel  and  received  a  revelation  from  God,  who  had  also 
revealed  to  him  and  his  adherents  the  whereabouts  of  a 
book  written  upon  golden  plates  and  deposited  in  the  earth. 
This  book  was  found  in  a  hill  called  Cumorah,  at  Man- 
chester, in  the  State  of  New  York.  They  selected  a  place 
near  Independence,  Jackson  County,  Mo.,  in  the  early  part 
of  the  year  1831,  which  they  named  Temple  Lot,  a  beauti- 
ful spot  of  ground  on  a  high  eminence.  They  there  stuck 
down  their  Jacob's  staff,  as  they  called  it,  and  said:  "This 
spot  is  the  center  of  the  earth.  This  is  the  place  where  the 
Garden  of  Eden,  in  which  Adam  and  Eve  resided,  was 
located,  and  we  are  sent  here  according  to  the  directions 
of  the  angel  that  appeared  to  our  prophet,  Joseph  Smith, 
and  told  him  this  is  the  spot  of  ground  on  which  the  New 
Jerusalem  is  to  be  built,  and,  when  finished,  Christ  Jesus  is  to 
make  his  reappearance  and  dwell  in  this  city  of  New  Jeru- 
salem with  the  saints  for  a  thousand  years,  at  the  end  of 
which  time  there  will  be  a  new  deal  with  reference  to  the 
nations  of  the  earth,  and  the  final  wind-up  of  the  career  of 
the  human  family."  They  claimed  to  have  all  the  spiritual 
gifts  and  understanding  of  the  works  of  the  Almighty  that 



belonged  to  the  Apostles  who  were  chosen  by  Christ  when 
on  his  mission  to  this  earth.  They  claim  the  gift  of 
tongues  and  interpretation  of  tongues  or  languages  spoken  in 
an  unknown  tongue.  In  their  silent  meetings,  the  one  who 
had  received  the  gift  of  an  unknown  tongue  knew  nothing 
of  its  interpretation  whatever,  but  after  some  silence  some 
one  in  the  audience  would  rise  and  claim  to  have  the  gift 
of  interpretation,  and  would  interpret  what  the  brother  or 
sister  had  previously  spoken.  They  also  claimed  to  have 
the  gift  of  healing  by  anointing  the  sick  with  oil  and  lay- 
ing on  of  hands,  and  some  claimed  that  they  could  raise 
the  dead;  in  fact,  they  laid  claim  to  every  gift  that  be- 
longed to  the  Apostolic  day  or  age.  They  established  their 
headquarters  at  Independence,  where  some  of  their  lead- 
ing elders  were  located.  There  they  set  up  a  printing 
office,  the  first  that  was  established  within  150  miles  of 
Independence,  and  commenced  printing  their  church  liter- 
ature, which  was  very  distasteful  to  the  members  and  lead- 
ers of  other  religious  denominations,  the  community  being 
composed  of  Methodists,  Baptists  of  two  different  orders, 
Presbyterians  of  two  different  orders,  and  Catholics,  and  a 
denomination  calling  themselves  Christians.  In  that  day 
and  age  it  was  regarded  as  blasphemous  or  sacrilegious  for 
any  one  to  claim  that  they  had  met  angels  and  received 
from  them  new  revelations,  and  the  religious  portion  of  the 
community,  especially,  was  very  much  incensed  and  aroused 
at  the  audacity  of  any  person  claiming  such  interviews  from 
the  invisible  world.  Of  course  the  Mormon  elders  de- 
nounced the  elders  and  preachers  of  the  other  denomina- 
tions above  mentioned,  and  said  they  were  the  blind  lead- 
ing the  blind,  and  that  they  would  all  go  into  the  ditch 
together.  An  elder  by  the  name  of  Rigdon  preached  in  the 
court  house  one  Sunday  in  1832,  in  which  he  said  that  he 
had  been  to  the  third  heaven,  and  had  talked  face  to  face 

i  HE    MORMONS.  to 

with  God  Almighty.  The  preachers  in  the  community  the 
next  day  went  en  masse  to  call  upon  him.  He  repeated 
what  he  had  said  the  day  before,  telling  them  they  had  not 
the  truth,  and  were  the  blind  leading  the  blind. 

The  conduct  of  the  Mormons  for  the  three  years  that 
they  remained  there  was  that  of  good  citizens,  beyond  their 
tantalizing  talks  to  outsiders.  They,  of  course,  were 
clannish,  traded  together,  worked  together,  and  carried  with 
them  a  melancholy  look  that  one  acquainted  with  them 
could  tell  a  Mormon  when  he  met  him  by  the  look  upon 
his  face  almost  as  well  as  if  he  had  been  of  different  color. 
They  claimed  that  God  had  given  them  that  locality,  and 
whoever  joined  the  Mormons,  and  helped  prepare  for  the 
next  coming  of  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  would  be  accepted 
and  all  right;  but  if  they  did  not  go  into  the  fold  of  the 
Latter  Day  Saints,  that  it  was  only  a  matter  of  time  when 
they  would  be  crushed  out,  for  that  was  the  promised  land 
and  they  had  come  to  possess  it.  The  Lord  had  sent  them 
there  and  would  protect  them  against  any  odds  in  the  way 
of  numbers.  Finally  the  citizens,  and  particularly  the 
religious  portion  of  them,  made  up  their  minds  that  it  was 
wrong  to  allow  them  to  be  printing  their  literature  and 
preaching,  as  it  might  have  a  bad  effect  upon  the  rising 
generation;  and  on  the  4th  of  July,  1833,  there  was  quite  a 
gathering  of  the  citizens,  and  a  mob  was  formed  to  tear 
down  their  printing  office.  While  the  mob  was  forming, 
many  of  the  elders  stood  and  looked  on,  predicting  that  the 
first  man  who  touched  the  building  would  be  paralyzed  and 
fall  dead  upon  the  ground.  The  mob,  however,  paid  no 
attention  to  their  predictions  and  prayers  for  God  to  come 
and  slay  them,  but  with  one  accord  seized  hold  of  the  imple- 
ments necessary  to  destroy  the  house,  and  within  the 
quickest  time  imaginable  had  it  torn  to  the  ground,  and 
scattered  their  type  and  literature  to  the  four  winds.     This, 


of  course,  created  an  intense  feeling  of  anger  on  the  part 
of  the  Mormons  against  the  citizens.  At  this  time  there 
were  but  a  few  hundred  Mormons  in  the  county  against 
many  times  their  number  of  other  citizens.  I  presume 
there  was  not  exceeding  600  Mormons  in  the  county. 

Immediately  after  they  tore  down  the  printing  office  they 
sent  to  the  store  of  Elder  Partridge  and  Mr.  Allen,  who 
was  also  an  elder  in  the  church,  and  took  them  by  force  to 
the  public  square,  stripped  them  to  their  waists,  and  poured 
on  them  a  sufficient  amount  of  tar  to  cover  their  bodies 
well,  and  then  took  feathers  and  rubbed  them  well  into  the 
tar,  making  the  two  elders  look  like  a  fright.  One  of  their 
names  being  Partridge,  many  began  to  whistle  like  a  cock 
partridge,  in  derision.  Now,  be  it  remembered  that  the 
people  who  were  doing  this  were  not  what  is  termed  "  rab- 
ble "  of  a  community,  but  many  among  them  were  respect- 
able citizens  and  law-abiding  in  every  other  respect,  but  who 
actually  thought  they  were  doing  God's  service  to  destroy,  if 
possible,  and  obliterate  Mormonism.  In  all  my  experience 
I  never  saw  a  more  law-abiding  people  than  those  who 
lived  where  this  occurred.  There  is  nothing,  however,  that 
they  could  have  done  that  would  have  proved  more  effect- 
ual in  building  up  and  strengthening  the  faith  of  the  peo- 
ple so  treated  as  this  and  similar  performances  proved  to 
do.  For  if  there  is  anything  under  the  sun  that  will 
strengthen  people  in  their  beliefs  or  faith,  no  matter  whether 
it  is  error  or  truth,  if  they  have  adopted  it  as  true,  it  is  to 
abuse  and  punish  them  for  their  avowed  belief  in  whatever 
they  espouse  as  religion  or  politics. 

A  few  months  after  the  tearing  down  of  the  building, 
a  dozen  or  two  Mormons  made  their  appearance  one 
day  on  the  county  road  west  of  the  Big  Blue  and  not 
far  from  the  premises  of  Moses  G.  Wilson.  Wilson's  boy 
rode  out  to  drive  up  the  milk  cows  in  the  morning,  and  saw 

THE    MORMONS.  4? 

this  group  of  Mormons  and  had  some  conversation  with 
them,  and  they  used  some  very  violent  language  to  the  boy. 
He  went  back  and  told  his  father,  and  it  happened  that 
there  were  several  of  the  neighbors  in  at  the  time,  as  he 
kept  a  little  county  store;  and  in  those  days  men  generally 
carried  their  guns  with  them,  in  case  they  should  have  a 
chance  to  shoot  a  deer  or  turkey  as  they  went  from  one 
neighbor's  to  another.  It  so  happened  that  several  of  them 
had  their  guns  with  them;  those  who  did  not  picked  up  a 
club  of  some  kind,  and  they  all  followed  the  boy,  who 
showed  them  where  they  were.  When  they  got  in  close 
proximity  to  where  the  Mormons  were  grouped,  seeing  the 
men  approaching  with  guns,  the  Mormons  opened  fire  upon 
them,  and  the  Gentiles,  as  they  were  called  by  the  Mor- 
mons, returned  the  fire.  There  was  a  lawyer  on  the  Gen- 
tile side  by  the  name  of  Brazeel,  who  was  shot  dead; 
another  man  by  the  name  of  Lindsay  was  shot  in  the  jaw 
and  was  thought  to  be  fatally  wounded,  but  recovered. 
Wilson's  boy  was  also  shot  in  the  body,  but  not  fatally. 
There  were  only  one  or  two  Mormons  killed.  Of  course, 
after  this  occurrence,  it  aroused  an  intense  feeling  of  hate 
and  revenge  in  the  citizens,  and  the  Mormons  would  not 
have  been  so  bold  had  it  not  been  for  their  elders  claiming 
that  under  all  circumstances  and  at  all  times  they  would 
be  sustained  by  the  Almighty's  power,  and  that  a  few  of 
them  would  be  able  to  put  their  enemies  to  flight.  The 
available  Mormon  men  then  formed  themselves  into  an 
organization  for  fighting  the  battles  of  the  Lord,  and 
started  to  Independence,  about  ten  miles  away,  to  take  pos- 
session of  the  town.  On  their  way,  and  when  they  were  within 
about  a  mile  of  Independence,  they  marched  with  all  the 
faith  and  fervor  imaginable  for  fanatics  to  possess,  encour- 
aging each  other  with  the  words,  "  God  will  be  with  us  and 
deliver  our  enemies  into  our  hands."     At  this  point  they 


met  a  gentleman  whom  I  well  knew,  by  the  name  of  Rube 
Collins,  a  citizen  of  the  place,  who  was  leaving  the  town  in 
a  gallop  to  go  home  and  get  more  help  to  defend  the  town 
from  the  Mormon  invasion.  He  shouted  out  as  he  passed 
them,  "  You  are  a  d — d  set  of  fools  to  go  there  now;  there  are 
armed  men  enough  there  to  exterminate  you  in  a  minute." 
They  were  acquainted  with  Collins,  and  supposed  he  had 
told  them  the  truth;  however,  at  that  time  they  could  have 
taken  the  town  had  they  pressed  on,  but  his  words  intimi- 
dated them  somewhat,  and  they  filed  off  from  the  big  road 
and  hid  themselves  in  the  brush  until  they  could  hold  a 
council,  and  I  presume  pray  for  light  to  be  guided  by. 
During  this  time  there  were  runners  going  in  all  directions, 
notifying  the  citizens  that  the  Mormons  were  coming  to 
the  town  to  take  it,  and  every  citizen,  as  soon  as  he  could 
run  bullets  and  fill  his  powder  horn  with  powder,  gathered 
his  gun  and  made  for  the  town;  and  in  a  few  hours  men 
enough  had  gathered  to  exterminate  them  had  they 
approached.  In  their  council  that  they  held  they  decided 
not  to  approach  until  they  sent  spies  ahead  to  see 
whether  Collins  had  told  them  the  truth  or  not.  They 
supposed  he  had,  from  the  fact  that  they  found  the  public 
square  almost  covered  with  men,  and  others  arriving  every 
minute.  As  quickly  as  the  citizens  had  organized  them- 
selves into  companies  (my  father,  Benjamin  Majors,  being 
captain  of  one  of  them),  they  then  sent  a  message  by  two 
or  three  citizens  to  the  Mormons,  where  they  were  still 
secreted  in  the  paw-paw  brush,  and  told  them  that  if  they  did 
not  come  and  surrender  immediately,  the  whole  party  that 
was  waiting  for  them  in  the  town  would  come  out  and 
exterminate  them.  This  message  sent  terror  to  their 
hearts,  with  all  their  claims  that  God  would  go  before 
them  and  fight  their  battles  for  them.  After  holding 
another  council  they  decided  the  best  thing  they  could  do 


was  to  go  and  surrender  themselves  to  their  enemies,  which 
they  did.  I  never  saw  a  more  pale-faced,  terror-stricken 
set  of  men  banded  together  than  these  seventy-five  Mor- 
mons, for  it  was  all  the  officers  could  do  to  keep  the  citi- 
zens from  shooting  them  down,  even  when  they  were  sur- 
rendering. However,  they  succeeded  in  keeping  the  men 
quiet,  and  no  one  was  hurt.  They  slacked  all  their  arms 
around  a  big  white-oak  stump  that  was  perhaps  four  feet  in 
diameter,  and  at  that  time  was  standing  in  the  public 
square.  Afterward  the  guns  were  put  in  the  jail  house  for 
safe  keeping,  and  were  eaten  up  with  rust,  and  never  to  my 
knowledge  delivered  to  them.  They  then  stipulated  that 
every  man,  woman,  and  child  should  leave  the  county 
within  three  weeks.  This  was  a  tremendous  hardship  upon 
the  Mormons,  as  it  was  late  in  the  fall,  and  there  were  no 
markets  for  their  crops  or  anything  else  that  they  had.  The 
quickest  way  to  get  out  of  the  county  was  to  cross  the 
river  into  Clay,  as  the  river  was  the  line  between  the  two 
counties.  They  had  to  leave  their  homes,  their  crops,  and 
in  fact  every  visible  thing  they  had  to  live  upon.  Many 
of  their  houses  were  burned,  their  fences  thrown  down,  and 
the  neighbors'  stock  would  go  in  and  eat  and  destroy  the 

It  has  been  claimed  by  people  who  were  highly  colored 
in  their  prejudice  against  the  Mormons  that  they  were  bad 
citizens;  that  they  stole  whatever  they  could  get  their 
hands  on  and  were  not  law-abiding.  This  is  not  true  with 
reference  to  their  citizenship  in  Jackson  County,  where  they 
got  their  first  kick,  and  as  severe  a  one  as  they  ever 
received,  if  not  the  most  severe.  There  was  not  an  officer 
among  them,  all  the  offices  of  the  county  being  in  the 
hands  of  their  enemies,  and  if  one  had  stolen  a  chicken  he 
could  and  would  have  been  brought  to  grief  for  doing  so; 
but  it  is  my  opinion  there  is  nothing  in  the  county  records 



to  show  where  a  Mormon  was  ever  charged  with  any  mis- 
demeanor  in  the  way  of  violation  of  the  laws  for  the  pro- 
tection of  property.  The  cause  of  all  this  trouble  was 
solely  from  the  claim  that  they  had  a  new  revelation  direct 
from  the  Almighty,  making  them  the  chosen  instruments  to 
go  forward,  let  it  please  or  displease  whom  it  might,  to 
build  the  New  Jerusalem  on  the  spot  above  referred  to, 
Temple  Lot.  And,  as  above  stated,  whoever  did  not  join 
in  this  must  sooner  or  later  give  way  to  those  who  would. 
I  met  a  Presbyterian  preacher,  Rev.  Mr.  McNice,  in  Salt 
Lake  City  a  number  of  years  ago  at  the  dinner  table  of  a 
mutual  friend,  Doctor  Douglas.  It  was  on  the  Sabbath  after 
hearing  him  preach  a  very  bitter  sermon  against  the  Mor- 
mons, denouncing  their  doctrines  and  doings  in  a  severe 
manner,  and  while  we  were  at  the  dinner  table,  the  subject 
of  the  Mormons  came  up,  and  I  told  him  that  I  was 
thoroughly  versed  in  their  first  troubles  in  Missouri,  and  he 
asked  me  what  the  trouble  was.  I  told  him  frankly  that  it 
grew  out  of  the  fact  that  they  claimed  to  have  seen  an 
angel,  and  to  have  received  a  new  revelation  from  God 
which  was  not  in  accord  with  the  religious  denominations 
that  existed  in  the  community  at  that  time.  He  hooted  at 
the  idea  and  told  me  he  had  read  the  history  of  their  troub- 
les there,  and  that  they  were  bad  citizens  with  reference  to 
being  outlaws,  thieves,  etc.,  who  would  pick  up  their  neigh- 
bors' property  and  the  like.  He  insisted  that  he  had  read 
their  history,  and  showed  a  disposition  to  discredit  my 
statements.  I  then  told  him  /was  history,  and  knew  as 
much  about  it  as  any  living  man  could  know,  and  that  there 
were  no  charges  of  that  kind  against  them;  they  were 
industrious,  hard-working  people,  and  worked  for  whatever 
they  wanted  to  live  upon,  obtaining  it  by  their  industry,  and 
not  by  stealing  it  from  their  neighbors.  He  then  scouted 
at  the  idea  that  people  would  receive  such  treatment  as 

THE    MORMONS.  51 

they  did  merely  because  they  claimed  to  have  seen  angels 
and  talked  with  God  and  claimed  to  have  a  new  revelation. 
I  then  referred  him  to  the  fact  that  fifty  or  sixty  years  pre- 
vious to  that  time  the  public  mind  in  America  lacked  a  great 
deal  of  being  so  tolerant  as  it  was  at  the  time  of  our  conver- 
sation; that  not  more  than  one  hundred  years  ago  some 
of  the  American  people  were  so  superstitious  that  they 
could  burn  witches  at  the  stake  and  drag  Quakers  through 
the  streets  of  Boston  on  their  backs,  with  a  jack  hitched  to 
their  heels;  that  the  Mormons  to-day  could  go  to  Jackson 
County,  Mo.,  and  preach  the  same  doctrines  that  they  did 
then,  and  the  result  would  be  that  they  would  be  laughed 
at  instead  of  mobbed  as  they  were  sixty  years  ago. 

I  was  sitting  in  a  cabin  with  my  father's  miller,  a  Mr. 
Newman,  a  Mormon,  at  the  time  of  this  trouble.  Mr.  New- 
man's mother-in-law,  who  lived  with  him,  was  named  Bent- 
ley;  she  had  a  son  in  the  company  that  surrendered  at 
Independence,  and  who  walked  six  miles  that  evening  and 
came  home.  The  young  man  walked  in  and  looked  as  sad 
as  death,  and  when  asked  what  the  news  was  he  stood  there 
and  related  what  had  taken  place  that  day  at  the  surrender. 
They  all  sat  in  breathless  silence  and  listened  to  the  story, 
and  when  he  was  through  with  his  statement  and  said  the 
Mormons  had  agreed  to  leave  the  county  within  three 
weeks,  the  old  lady,  who  sat  by  the  table  sewing,  raised  her 
hand  and  brought  it  down  upon  the  table  with  a  tremen- 
dous thud,  and  said: 

"So  sure  as  this  is  a  world  there  will  be  a  New  Jerusalem 

I  relate  this  little  incident  to  show  that  even  after  they 
had  met  with  such  a  galling  defeat  how  zealous  even  the 
old  women  were  with  reference  to  their  future  success. 
But  it  is  my  opinion  that  the  more  often  a  fanatic  is  kicked 
and  abused,  the  stronger  is  his  faith  in  his  cause,  for  then 


they  would  take  Up  the  Scriptures  and  read  the  sentences 
expressed  by  Christ: 

"But  before  all  these  they  shall  lay  their  hands  on  you 
and  persecute  you,  delivering  you  up  to  the  synagogues 
and  into  prisons,  being  brought  before  kings  and  rulers  for 
my  name's  sake."  "But  take  heed  to  yourselves,  for  they 
shall  deliver  you  up  to  councils,  and  in  the  synagogues  ye 
shall  be  beaten;  and  ye  shall  be  brought  before  rulers  and 
kings  for  my  sake  for  a  testimony  against  them." 

From  such  passages  they  have  always  drawn  the  greatest 
consolation,  and  one  would  ask  one  another,  "Where  are 
the  people  the  blessed  Lord  had  reference  to?"  Another 
brother,  with  all  the  sanctity  and  confidence  imaginable  for 
a  fanatic  to  feel,  would  answer,  "Well,  brother,  if  you  do 
not  find  them  among  the  Latter  Day  Saints  you  can  not 
find  them  upon  the  face  of  this  green  earth,  for  we  have 
suffered  all  the  abuses  the  blessed  Lord  refers  to  in  the 
Scripture  you  have  just  quoted." 

I  have  said  before  that  the  Mormons  all  crossed  the  Mis- 
souri into  Clay  County,  where  they  wintered  in  tents  and 
log  cabins  hastily  thrown  together,  and  lived  on  mast,  corn, 
and  meat  that  they  would  procure  from  the  citizens  for 
whom  they  worked  in  clearing  ground  and  splitting  rails, 
and  other  work  of  a  like  character. 

In  the  spring  they  were  determined  to  return  to  their 
homes,  although  they  were  so  badly  destroyed,  and  claimed 
again  as  before  that  God  would  vindicate  them  and  put  to 
flight  their  enemies.  The  people  of  Jackson  County, 
however,  watched  for  their  return,  and  gathered,  at  the 
appointed  time,  in  a  large  body,  on  the  opposite  side  of  the 
river  to  where  the  Mormons  were  expected  to  congregate 
and  cross  back  into  the  county.  Their  spies  came  to  the 
river,  and  seeing  camps  of  the  citizens,  who  had  gathered  to 
the  number  of  four  or  five  hundred  strong  (I  being  one  of 

THE    MORMONS.  53 

the  number)  to  prevent  their  crossing,  then  changed  their 
purpose  and  sent  some  of  their  leading  men  to  locate  in  some 
other  part  of  the  State,  for  the  time  being,  with  the  full 
understanding,  however,  that  at  the  Lord's  appointed  time 
they  would  all  be  returned  to  Jackson  County,  and  complete 
their  mission  in  building  the  city  of  the  New  Jerusalem. 
The  delegation  they  sent  out  selected  Davis  and  Colwell 
counties  as  the  portion  of  the  State  where  they  would  make 
their  temporary  rally  until  they  became  strong  enough  for 
the  Lord  to  restore  them  to  their  former  location. 

During  that  spring  the  citizens  of  Jackson  County,  feel- 
ing that  there  had  been,  in  many  cases,  great  outrages  per- 
petrated upon  the  Mormons,  held  a  public  meeting  at  Inde- 
pendence and  appointed  five  commissioners,  whose  duty  it 
was  to  meet  some  of  the  leading  elders  of  the  Mormons  at 
Liberty,  the  seat  of  Clay  County,  and  make  some  repara- 
tion for  the  damages  that  had  been  done  to  their  property 
the  fall  before  in  Jackson  County.  They  met,  but  failed  to 
agree,  as  the  elders  asked  more  and  perhaps  wanted  to 
retain  the  titles  they  had  to  the  lands,  as  they  thought  it 
would  be  sacrilege  to  part  with  them,  for  that' was  the 
chosen  spot  for  the  New  Jerusalem.  During  the  time  that 
elapsed  between  the  commissioners  crossing  the  river  in  the 
morning  and  returning  in  the  evening,  the  ferryman  (Brad- 
bury), whom  I  have  often  met,  a  man  with  a  very  large  and 
finely  developed  physique,  a  great  swimmer,  was  supposed 
to  be  bribed  by  the  Mormons  to  bore  large  auger-holes 
through  the  gunwales  of  his  flatboat  just  at  the  water's  edge. 
The  boat  having  a  floor  in  it  some  inches  above  the  bottom, 
there  could  be  no  detection  of  the  flow  of  the  water  until 
it  was  sufficiently  deep  to  cover  the  inner  floor.  The  com- 
missioners went  upon  the  boat  with  their  horses,  and  had 
not  proceeded  very  far  from  the  shore  until  they  found  the 
water  coming  up  in  the  second  floor  and  the  boat  rapidly 


sinking.  This,  of  course,  produced  great  consternation, 
for  the  river  was  very  high  and  turbulent.  Bradbury,  the 
owner  of  the  ferry,  said  to  his  two  men: 

"Boys,  we  will  jump  off  and  swim  back  to  the  shore." 

As  above  stated,  he  was  a  great  swimmer,  and  had  been 
known  to  swim  the  Missouri  upon  his  back  several  times 
not  long  before  this  occurred.  When  the  water  rose  in  the 
boat  so  that  it  was  necessary  for  the  commissioners  to  leave 
it,  three  of  them  caught  hold  of  their  horses'  tails,  after 
throwing  off  as  much  clothing  as  they  could  before  the 
boat  went  down  with  them.  The  other  two  men  who  could 
swim  attempted  to  swim  alone,  but  the  current  was  so  tur- 
bulent that  they  were  overcome  and  were  drowned.  Those 
who  hung  on  to  the  tails  of  their  horses  were  brought 
safely  to  shore.  One  of  the  men  drowned  was  a  neigh- 
bor of  my  father's  and  as  fine  a  gentleman  and  good  fellow 
as  ever  lived.     His  name  was  David  Lynch. 

I  remember  well  their  names,  and  was  well  acquainted 
with  two  of  the  men  who  were  pulled  through  by  their 
horses,  S.  Noland  and  Sam  C.  Owens,  the  foremost  mer- 
chant of  the  county,  a  man  who  stood  high  in  every  sense, 
and  of  marked  ability. 

This  occurrence  put  the  quietus  on  any  further  attempt 
to  try  to  settle  for  the  damages  done  the  Mormons  when 
driven  from  the  county,  for  it  caused  in  the  whole  popula- 
tion the  most  intense  feeling  against  them,  and  they  never 
were  remunerated. 

When  Bradbury  jumped  off  the  boat  he  swam  for  the 
shore,  but  was  afterward  found  dead,  with  one  of  his  hands 
grasping  the  root  of  a  Cottonwood  tree,  so  there  was  no 
opportunity  for  trying  him  for  the  crime,  or  finding  out  how 
it  was  brought  about.  It  was  supposed  that  he  was  bribed, 
as  no  one  knew  of  any  enmity  he  had  against  the  commis- 


The  town  the  Mormons  started,  which  they  selected  for 
their  home  in  Paris  County,  they  called  Far  West.  This 
was  the  first  experience  that  the  people  of  Western  Mis- 
souri had  with  the  emigrants  of  the  Eastern  or  New  England 
States.  Brigham  Young,  who  afterward  became  the  leader 
of  the  Mormons,  was  from  Vermont,  and  many  others  com- 
posing the  early  pioneers  of  the  Mormon  church  were  from 
the  New  England  States;  some,  however,  from  Ohio  and  Illi- 
nois, as  well  as  some  proselytes  from  Missouri.  Up  to  the 
time  of  their  appearance  in  Western  Missouri  the  entire 
population  was  from  some  one  of  the  four  States — Virginia, 
North  Carolina,  Tennessee,  or  Kentucky. 

It  has  been  claimed  by  some  that  one  of  the  causes  of 
the  dissatisfaction  was  that  the  Mormons  were  Abolitionists. 
This,  however,  played  no  part  in  the  bitter  feeling  that 
grew  up  between  them  and  their  neighbors,  for  at  the  time 
of  their  coming  to  Jackson  County  there  were  but  very  few 
slaves,  the  people  generally  being  poor  farmers  who  lived 
from  the  labor  of  their  own  hands  and  that  of  their  families. 
And  then,  when  the  Mormons  were  driven  entirely  from 
Missouri  to  Illinois,  which  was  a  free  State,  they  soon  got 
into  difficulty  with  their  neighbors  there,  as  they  had  done 
in  Missouri.  It  is  claimed  now,  universally,  by  the  people 
of  this  country  that  polygamy,  or  the  plurality-wife  system, 
is  the  only  objection  that  good  citizens  can  have  to  Mor- 
monism.  This  was  not  the  cause  of  their  difficulties  or 
their  trouble  in  Illinois  and  Missouri,  as  they  had  never, 
up  to  the  time  they  left  Nauvoo,  111.,  proclaimed  polygamy 
as  being  a  church  institution.  And  as  I  have  previously 
stated,  it  was  their  clannishness,  as  is  natural  for  a  church 
to  do,  more  or  less,  only  they  carried  it  to  a  greater  degree 
than  other  denominations.  Also  the  new  doctrine  they 
were  preaching,  stating  that  they  were  the  only  and  chosen 
people  of  God,  and  that  they  had  the  key  of  St.  Peter, 


which  was  lost  during  the  dark  ages  and  was  revealed  again 
to  Joseph  Smith,  their  prophet;  that  the  Lord  would  stand 
by  them  and  enable  them  to  prevail  in  their  undertakings 
as  against  any  array  of  opposition,  no  matter  how  much 
greater  the  numbers  might  be  than  their  own. 

They  built  up  the  city  of  Far  West,  of  several  thousand 
people,  and  while  there  increased  very  rapidly,  having 
missionaries  in  many  parts  of  the  country  preaching  their 
doctrine.  As  quickly  as  an  individual  would  accept  their 
faith,  they  would  at  once  rally  to  the  headquarters,  and  in 
the  course  of  a  few  years  they  had  put  a  great  deal  of  the 
prairie  lands  into  cultivation  and  increased  their  numbers 
until  they  were  so  formidable  that  when  they  began  to  be 
odious  to  their  neighbors  by  showing  a  hostile  attitude 
toward  any  power  that  might  interfere  with  them,  they  got 
into  trouble  much  in  the  same  way  as  they  did  in  Jackson 

A  party  of  Gentiles  and  Mormons  met  at  a  point  called 
Horn's  Mill,  and  became  involved  in  a  quarrel,  when  there 
were  some  killed  on  both  sides.  This  created  such  a  feel- 
ing in  the  community  that  both  Mormons  and  Gentiles  felt 
insecure,  living  neighbors  to  each  other  as  they  were,  and 
the  trouble  went  on  until  it  culminated  in  the  Governor, 
Lilburn  W.  Boggs,  calling  out  a  portion  of  the  militia  of 
the  State  and  ordering  them  to  Far  West,  the  Mormon  cen- 
ter. The  Mormons  were  drilling  continuously,  and  increas- 
ing their  facilities  for  fighting,  when  the  militia  reached  the 
place  designated,  and  organizing,  placed  themselves  in 
battle  array.  The  Mormons  were  also  drawn  up  in  long 
lines,  and  for  a  short  time  it  looked  as  if  a  bloody  battle 
was  unavoidable,  but  before  any  engagement  occurred  the 
Mormons  again  surrendered.  They  then  agreed  to  leave 
the  State  of  Missouri,  and  in  April,  1839,  the  last  of  the 
band  left  Far  West,  moved  across  the  Mississippi  into  Illi- 


nois,  where  they  afterward  located  and  built  the  city  of 
Nauvoo,  but  with  no  better  results  with  the  people  in  the 
free  State  than  they  experienced  in  Missouri.  This  shows 
that  slavery  had  nothing  to  do  with  the  hard  feelings  and 
prejudice  they  aroused  in  every  community  in  which  they 

The  Mormons'  new  village  was  named  Nauvoo,  which 
means  Peaceful  Rest.  While  there,  having  increased  to 
fifteen  thousand  souls,  they  built  a  temple  to  the  Lord, 
which  was,  perhaps,  the  finest  building  that  had  ever  been 
erected  in  the  State  up  to  that  time.  During  the  year 
1844,  trouble  arose  between  them  and  the  Gentiles,  to  sup- 
press which  the  militia  was  called  out,  and  in  June  of  that 
year  a  writ  was  sworn  out  for  the  arrest  of  the  Mormon 
prophet,  Joseph  Smith.  His  brother  Hiram  and  Elder 
Taylor,  who,  after  Brigham  Young's  death,  became  presi- 
dent of  the  church,  accompanied  him  to  Carthage,  111., 
where  he  went  to  give  himself  up.  Arriving  at  Carthage, 
all  three  were  put  in  jail,  where  a  mob  succeeded  in  killing 
the  two  brothers  and  seriously  wounding  Taylor,  who  car- 
ried some  of  the  bullets  in  his  body  during  the  remainder 
of  his  life.  On  the  death  of  Joseph  Smith,  Brigham  Young 
was  chosen  by  the  church  as  its  prophet,  president,  and 

After  three  severe  experiences  in  establishing  settle- 
ments in  Missouri  and  Illinois,  they  determined  in  their 
councils  to  emigrate  farther  west  and  start  a  colony  which 
would  be  composed  of  Latter  Day  Saints,  where  they  would 
be  entirely  distinct  and  separate  from  any  antagonizing 
elements.  At  that  time  Salt  Lake  Valley,  being  under 
Spanish  dominion  and  a  thousand  miles  from  any  white 
settlement,  was  ultimately  chosen  as  the  spot  best  suited 
for  their  purpose. 

After  leaving  Nauvoo,  111.,  they  went  to  Council  Bluffs, 



Iowa  (called  by  them  Kaneville),  traveling  through  the 
State  of  Iowa,  and  undergoing  the  greatest  hardships  and 
sufferings  any  people  were  ever  called  upon  to  endure, 
being  without  money,  some  of  them  without  the  proper 
means  of  transportation,  destitute  of  almost  all  the  neces- 
sities of  life,  and  a  great  many  sick  on  account  of  exposure 
to  the  elements.  Arriving  at  the  place  above  named,  on 
the  Missouri  River,  they  went  into  winter  quarters,  and  the 
next  spring  planted  and  raised  crops  in  that  vicinity,  the 
greater  number  of  the  emigrants  remaining  there  for  the 
next  two  years. 

In  the  spring  of  1847,  at  the  time  war  was  being  carried 
on  between  the  United  States  and  Mexico,  Brigham  Young 
started  west  with  a  band  of  from  seventy  to  seventy-five 
pioneers,  having,  I  believe,  an  impression  that  in  Salt  Lake 
Valley  might  be  found  the  Mecca  of  their  hopes.  They 
arrived  in  Salt  Lake  Valley  on  the  21st  day  of  July  of  that 
year.  Previous  to  this,  in  1846,  at  the  call  of  the  President 
for  troops  for  the  Mexican  War,  Brigham  Young  raised  a 
regiment  of  a  thousand  volunteers  to  go  to  Mexico,  under 
a  stipulation  with  the  United  States  Government  that,  when 
the  war  was  over,  the  survivors  should  receive  their  dis- 
charges in  California.  This  agreement  was  made  in  view  of 
the  fact  that  they  had  already  resolved  to  go  west  into 
Spanish  territory. 

The  treaty  of  peace  between  the  United  States  and  Old 
Mexico,  at  the  close  of  the  war,  resulted  in  the  Government 
of  Mexico  giving  up  to  the  United  States  all  the  territory 
possessed  by  it  lying  north  of  the  present  boundary  line 
between  the  two  countries,  so  that,  after  all  the  exertions 
the  Mormons  had  made  to  effect  a  settlement  on  Spanish 
territory,  in  less  than  a  year  they  found  themselves  still  in 
the  United  States,  where  they  have  ever  since  remained, 
having  built  cities  and  towns  on  the  colonizing  plan   in 

THE    MORMONS.  59 

every  available  portion  of  the  Territory  of  Utah,  and  hav- 
ing quite  a  number  of  colonies  in  other  Territories,  with 
one  at  present  established  in  Mexico,  as  I  have  lately  been 

I  have  met  in  later  years  and  become  familiarly 
acquainted  with  many  of  the  leading  spirits  of  the  Mor- 
mon church,  and  have  had  large  business  transactions 
with  Brigham  Young  and  many  other  prominent  Mormons, 
among  whom  were  Captain  Hooper,  General  Eldridge, 
Ferrimore  Little,  William  Jennings,  John  Sharp,  Lew 
Hills,  Gen.  Daniel  H.  Wells,  Wilford  Woodruff  (now 
president  of  the  Mormon  church),  Joseph  Smith,  and 
George  Q.  Cannon,  and  a  fairer,  more  upright  set  of 
gentlemen  I  never  met. 

I  have  heard  all  the  leading  elders  of  the  Mormon 
Church  preach,  including  Brigham  Young,  Heber  Kimball, 
George  Q.  Cannon,  George  A.  Smith  (the  historian),  John 
Taylor,  Orson  Pratt,  and  Elder  Woodruff,  who  is  now 
president  of  the  church. 

Orson  Pratt  was  the  ablest  expounder  of  the  Scriptures, 
particularly  of  the  prophecies,  in  the  Mormon  church.  He 
was  the  man  chosen  by  Brigham  Young  and  his  counselors 
to  discuss  the  subject  of  polygamy,  from  a  Bible  standpoint, 
with  the  Rev.  John  P.  Newman,  who  was  at  that  time 
pastor  of  one  of  the  Methodist  churches  in  Washington, 
D.  C.  I,  among  many  other  Gentiles,  was  present  and 
heard  the  discussion,  which  took  place  in  the  Mormon 

President  Young,  as  he  was  invariably  called  by  his  own 
people,  was  the  boldest,  most  outspoken  man  I  ever  saw  in 
the  pulpit.  I  remember  hearing  him  one  Sabbath  day 
when  he  was  preaching  in  the  Tabernacle,  which  seats 
13,000  people,  and  on  that  day  was  packed  to  its  full 
capacity,  there  being  probably   one  hundred  and  fifty  or 


more  strangers  present — excursionists  from  the  East  on 
their  way  to  California,  who  had  stopped  over  Sunday  to 
visit  the  Mormon  church,  and  listen  to  the  immense  organ 
and  singers,  but  whose  greatest  desire  was  to  hear  Erigham 
Young  expound  the  Mormon  doctrine.  These  strangers 
were  given  the  most  prominent  seats  by  the  ushers,  and 
this  is  the  only  church  in  which  I  remember  strangers 
having  precedent  over  the  regular  church  members  in  being 
seated.  When  Brigham  Young  was  well  along  in  his  dis- 
cussion, it  occurred  to  him  that  the  strangers  present  would 
want  to  know  the  size  of  his  family,  as  that  was  a  question 
often  asked  by  visitors,  so  he  ceased  his  discourse  and 
said:  "I  suppose  the  strangers  present  would  like  to  know 
how  many  wives  and  children  I  have,"  and  then  proceeded 
to  say  he  had  sixteen  wives  and  forty-five  living  children, 
having  lost  eight  or  ten  children,  I  believe.  He  then  pro- 
ceeded to  finish  his  discourse. 

I  was  present  on  another  occasion  when  he  was  preach- 
ing to  a  very  large  congregation,  and  he  said  to  them: 

"  Brethren,  we  have  thieves,  scoundrels,  perjurers,  and 
villains  in  our  church,  but  the  day  will  come  when  the  tares 
will  be  separated  from  the  wheat  and  burned  up  with 
unquenchable  fire;  if  this  were  not  so,  however,  we  could 
not  claim  to  be  the  church  of  Jesus  Christ,  for  he  said  that 
the  kingdom  of  God  was  like  a  great  net,  which,  being  cast 
into  the  sea,  brought  all  manner  of  fishes  to  the  shore." 
He  was  the  only  preacher  I  ever  heard  make  such  remarks 
to  his  own  people,  and  recognize  the  church  as  being  the 
true  one  because  of  the  tares  that  grew  among  the  wheat. 

The  Mormon  church  taught  regeneration  through  bap- 
tism by  immersion.  In  the  commencement  of  their  service 
a  chapter  from  either  the  Old  or  New  Testament  was  gen- 
erally read,  and  during  the  discourse  frequent  reference 
was  made  to  the  Book  of  Mormon  and  to  Joseph  Smith, 
their  prophet. 

THE    MORMONS.  61 

President  Young  was  one  of  the  smartest  men,  if  nut  the 
ablest  man,  it  was  ever  my  fortune  to  meet.  He  was  a  man 
well  posted  on  all  subjects  relating  to  the  business  interests 
of  the  country,  and  especially  to  his  own  people.  His 
bishops  and  himself  settled  all  manner  of  difficulties  aris- 
ing out  of  business  or  church  matters  without  the  assist- 
ance of  courts,  and  he  always  insisted  that  every  difficulty 
should  be  settled  by  arbitration  of  the  members  of  the 
community  in  which  the  disputants  lived. 

In  the  ten  years  I  lived  in  Salt  Lake  City,  which  was 
from  1869  to  1879,  I  never  heard  any  talk  among  the  Mor- 
mons about  the  gift  of  speaking  the  unknown  tongue,  or 
the  interpretation  thereof,  as  they  claimed  to  have  in  Mis- 
souri. They,  however,  claimed  to  possess  all  the  gifts  of 
the  Apostolic  age  and,  as  I  have  stated  in  another  place, 
the  keys  of  St.  Peter.  They  believed  in  church  authority, 
as  do  the  Catholics,  and  in  a  personal  God;  they  differ 
widely,  r^vever,  from  their  Catholic  brethren  when  they 
come  to  the  marriage  relation,  the  Mormons  believing  their 
bishops  and  elders  should  each  have  many  wives,  the 
Catholics,  on  the  other  hand,  denying  marriage  to  their 

Mormon  communities,  like  all  others,  are  made  up  of 
those  who  are  reliable  and  those  who  are  not — in  other 
words,  the  good  and  the  bad.  Polygamy,  which  was  prac- 
ticed among  them  for  more  than  a  quarter  of  a  century, 
they  claimed  upon  scriptural  authority  was  practiced  in 
the  Apostolic  days.  Let  that  be  as  it  may,  perhaps  there 
never  was  a  time  in  the  march  of  civilization  when  to 
adopt  such  a  practice  would  have  been  in  more  direct  oppo- 
sition to  the  moral  sense  of  the  civilized  world  than  the 
present  one  of  the  nineteenth  century. 

In  by-gone  days,  when  the  people  depended  upon  their 
own  and  home  productions  for  their  living,  the  larger  a 


man's  family,  with  every  one  a  worker,  the  easier  it  was 
for  him  to  get  along.  Not  so  now,  however,  but  it  is  just 
the  reverse. 

The  Mormons  believed  that  church  and  state  should  be 
one,  and  that  the  laws  of  God  should  be  the  laws  of  the 
land;  therefore  many  of  them  persisted  in  practicing  polyg- 
amy after  Congress  passed  laws  prohibiting  it,  preferring, 
as  they  said,  to  practice  the  higher  law  in  disobedience  to 
the  laws  made  by  men,  and  many  of  them  have  gone, 
singing  and  dancing,  to  the  penitentiary,  consigned  there 
by  the  courts  for  violating  the  statutes  because  of  their 



The  new  Mormon  temple  marks  the  history  of  the 
Church  of  Jesus  Christ  of  Latter  Day  Saints  from  the  day 
when  Brigham  Young  and  his  few  followers  first  set  foot 
in  the  new  promised  land.  It  is  a  work  commenced  in  the 
wilderness,  and  completed  forty  years  afterward. 

The  laying  of  the  cap-stone  of  the  temple  recorded  the 
culmination  of  a  work  the  Mormon  people  have  been 
eagerly  anticipating  for  nearly  two  generations.  It  recalls, 
too,  many  chapters  of  history  abounding  in  interest.  It 
tells  a  tale  of  patience,  industry,  and  unswerving  devotion 
to  an  object  and  a  religious  principle. 

It  is  forty  years  ago  since  the  corner-stones  of  this 
temple  were  laid,  and  although  there  have  been  occasional 
lapses  of  time  when  nothing  was  done,  and  often  only  a 
few  men  employed,  the  work  has  practically  been  going  on 

Not  more  than  a  few  days  after  the  arrival  of  the  Mor- 
mon pioneers  in  the  Great  Salt  Lake  Basin,  the  prophet, 
Brigham  Young,  was  strolling  about  in  the  vicinity  of  his 
camping-place  in  company  with  some  of  the  apostles  of  his 
church.  The  days  previous  had  been  employed  in  explor- 
ing the  valley  to  the  north  and  south.  These  explorations 
satisfied  them  that  there  was  no  more  favorable  location  to 
commence  the  building  of  a  new  city  in  the  wilderness  than 
the  one  on  which  they  had  first  pitched  their  tents.  The 
night  when  Brigham  took  that  stroll  was  at  the  end  of  a 
perfect  day  in  July.      Looking  to  the  south   the  valley 



stretched  awry  into  magnificent  distances  and  beautiful 
vistas  as  lovely  as  eye  ever  beheld.  Over  in  the  west  was 
the  Great  Salt  Lake,  with  its  huge  islands  rising  from  the 
mirrored  surface  of  its  waters,  and  burying  their  mountain- 
ous heads  in  the  white  of  the  clouds  and  the  blue  of  the  sky. 
In  the  east  were  the  cold  and  rugged  ranges  of  the  Wasatch. 
To  the  north  were  the  brown  hills  that  guarded  the  city  in 
that  direction.  It  was  a  scene  to  inspire  beautiful  and 
poetic  thoughts,  and  Brigham  gazed  about  him,  apparently 
delighted  with  the  sublimity  of  the  glorious  prospect. 

Turning  his  eyes  to  the  east  he  struck  his  cane  into  the 
earth  and  said,  "  Here  is  where  the  temple  of  our  God 
shall  rise."  Not  a  word  of  dissent  was  heard  to  his  procla- 
mation. There  were  no  suggestions  that  better  sites 
might  be  had.  Brigham  had  issued  his  edict,  and  when  he 
had  spoken  it  was  law  to  his  people,  so  solemn  that  all 
indorsed  it.  From  that  moment  the  Temple  Square  was 
looked  upon  as  sacred  to  the  purpose  to  which  it  had  been 

Remembering  with  what  matchless  courage  this  great 
Mormon  leader  had  conducted  his  insignificant  army  across 
the  desert  from  the  Missouri  River,  and  through  the 
mountain  defiles  into  this  then  wilderness,  it  is  impossible 
to  still  the  thought,  "  Did  his  imagination's  eye  peer 
through  the  mist  of  years  and  see  the  gray  and  solemn  pile 
which  is  now  the  temple? " 

But  that  July  night  when  Brigham  Young  struck  his  cane 
on  the  ground  was  in  1847,  and  nothing  was  done  toward 
building  the  temple  until  six  years  afterward.  Still  it  is 
doubtful  if  the  original  intention  had  ever  been  abandoned. 

At  first  it  was  intended  to  build  it  of  adobe,  but  when  a 
mountain  of  granite,  fine  in  its  quality  and  most  beautiful 
in  color,  was  found  some  miles  from  the  city,  that  material 


was  substituted.     On  a  panel  just  above  the  second-story 
window  of  the  east  end  of  the  temple  is  this  inscription: 


THE    HOUSE    OF    THE    LORD 





COMMENCED    APRIL  6,   1 853, 


Below  the  word  "  completed  "  there  is  a  blank  line  where, 
when  the  last  piece  of  stone  has  been  chiseled  and  the  fres- 
coer  has  applied  the  last  touch  of  his  brush,  a  date  will  be 
cut  into  the  marble  slab.  That  date  may  not  be  inscribed 
for  two  or  three  years  yet,  for  there  is  still  very  much  to  do 
on  the  interior. 

April  6,  1853,  was  a  bright  day  in  the  history  of  Zion. 
Not  only  was  the  semi-annual  conference  of  the  Mormon 
church  in  session,  but  the  corner-stone  of  the  great  temple 
was  to  be  laid  with  imposing  ceremonies.  The  first  com- 
pany of  Mormon  pioneers  to  enter  the  Salt  Lake  Valley 
only  numbered  143,  but  six  years  afterward  the  city  had  a 
population  of  nearly  6,000  people.  It  was  a  city,  too,  pe- 
culiar and  unique  in  its  customs  and  the  character  of  its  resi- 
dents. By  that  time  Utah  had  many  large  settlements,  and 
from  the  most  remote  of  these  the  saints  came  to  assemble 
at  the  center  stake  of  Zion.  They  came  wearing  their 
brightest  and  best  garments  and  their  happiest  faces.  Pre- 
sumably their  souls  were  possessed  of  that  sweet  peace 
which  passeth  all  understanding.  A  grand  procession  was 
formed  in  honor  of  the  ceremony  about  to  be  celebrated. 

An  old  program  of  that  parade,  and  the  exercises  of  the 
day,  is  yet  in  existence,  and  it  is  notable  that  the  church  dig- 



nitaries  were  the  most  conspicuous  figures  in  the  pageant. 
There  were  the  presidents,  apostles,  and  bishops,  the  high 
priests,  the  counselors,  the  elders,  and  all  the  lesser  degrees 
of  Mormon  ecclesiastical  authorities. 

Flags  were  flying,  bands  were  playing — there  were  two 
bands  in  Utah,  even  then.  Four  corner-stones  were  laid, 
four  dedicatory  prayers  offered,  in  which  the  Almighty  was 
invoked  to  bless  the  building  then  begun,  and  four  orations 
were  delivered. 

There  are  many  conflicting  stories  in  regard  to  the 
designer  of  the  temple.  A  man  by  the  name  of  Truman  C. 
Angell  was  the  first  architect,  and  he  drew  the  plans,  but  it 
was  in  the  fertile  genius  of  Brigham  Young  that  the  ideas 
of  form  and  arrangement  were  conceived.  These  he  sub- 
mitted to  Angell,  who  elaborated  them.  Doubtless  Brig- 
ham  had  based  his  conceptions  on  the  descriptions  he  had 
read  of  Solomon's  temple,  but  however  much  of  the  plans 
he  may  have  cribbed,  to  him  belongs  the  credit.  He 
claimed  the  design  of  the  temple,  even  to  the  smallest 
detail,  had  been  given  him  by  a  revelation  from  God. 

Angell  devoted  his  life  to  this  building.  After  him  two 
or  three  others  directed  the  construction,  but  for  the  past 
four  or  five  years  Don  Carlos  Young,  a  son  of  Brigham's, 
has  been  the  architect. 

For  many  years  the  progress  was  exceedingly  slow.  The 
foundations  were  sunk  sixteen  feet  below  the  surface. 
There  was  a  great  yawning  hole  to  be  filled  with  rock, 
every  one  of  which  had  to  be  pulled  by  ox  teams.  Many 
people  remember  how  slowly  the  building  rose.  They  say 
it  was  several  years  before  the  walls  could  be  seen  above 
ground.  But  there  was  no  hurry  and  nothing  was  slighted, 
for  the  temple  when  completed  was  intended  to  be  as 
enduring  as  the  mountains  from  which  the  stone  it  was 
built  of  was  quarried. 

THE    MORMONS'    MECCA.  67 

No  better  illustration  of  the  infinite  patience,  the  cease- 
less industry,  and  the  religious  zeal  of  the  Mormon  people 
could  be  given  than  they  have  manifested  in  this  work.  It 
was  a  stupendous  undertaking.  They  possessed  no  modern 
mechanical  appliances;  everything  had  to  be  done  by  the 
crudest  methods.  Considering  these  difficulties,  and  the 
immense  character  of  the  work,  it  inspires  wonder  and 

The  temple  quarries  are  in  a  mountain-walled  canon 
called  Little  Cottonwood,  twenty-two  miles  from  the  city. 
For  many  years,  or  until  1872,  every  stone  had  to  be  hauled 
that  distance  by  ox  teams.  The  wagons  were  especially 
constructed  for  that  purpose,  and  some  of  the  stones  were 
so  large  that  four  or  five  yoke  were  required  to  pull  the 
load.  How  slow  and  expensive  a  building  of  this  magni- 
tude must  have  been,  when  such  methods  were  employed, 
can  readily  be  appreciated.  But  in  1872  a  branch  railroad 
was  built  from  the  Temple  Square  to  the  quarries;  since  then 
the  construction  has  been  more  rapid  and  less  expensive. 

Figures  only  give  a  suggestion  of  its  gigantic  propor- 
tions. It  is  only  when  seen  from  a  distance  that  its  mas- 
siveness  manifests  itself.  Then  it  towers  above  the  other 
tall  buildings  of  the  city  like  a  mountain  above  the  level 
plain — it  stands  out  solemn,  grand,  majestic,  and  alone.  It 
is  99  feet  wide  and  200  feet  long.  The  four  corner  towers 
are  188  feet  high;  to  the  top  of  the  central  western  tower  is 
204  feet.  The  main,  or  eastern  tower,  is  211  feet  to  the 
top  of  the  great  granite  globe,  and  on  that  the  statue  of 
the  angel  Gabriel  stands,  the  figure  itself  being  14  feet 
high.  Above  all  these  points  are  the  supplementary  spires, 
on  which  the  electric  lights  will  be  fixed.  The  lights  on 
these  sky-piercing  spires  will  be  interesting,  for  they  will 
be  so  powerful  as  to  penetrate  the  darkest  corner  of  the 
valley,  and  will  be  like  unto  a  beacon  to  a  watching  mari- 


nci'.  That  on  the  main,  or  eastern  spire,  will  be  placed 
below  the  statue  of  the  angel,  and  will  be  reflected  upward, 
surrounding  the  figure  with  a  brilliant  halo. 

In  the  designing  of  the  temple,  no  startling  architectural 
innovations  seem  to  have  been  attempted.  The  exterior 
has  a  poverty  of  ornamentation,  yet  perhaps  that  is  the  most 
attractive  feature.  But  the  interior  is  exceedingly  interest- 
ing. There  are  all  manner  of  eccentricities  and  queer  unex- 
pected places.  In  the  four  corner  towers  are  winding  stone 
staircases  reaching  to  the  roof,  each  having  250  steps. 
These  were  all  cut  by  hand  at  a  cost  of  $100  apiece,  and 
they  are  anchored  in  walls  of  solid  masonry.  The  largest 
room  is  in  the  top  story,  and  is  So  x  ico  feet  and  36  feet 
high.  This  is  to  be  used  as  an  assemby  hall,  and  will  have 
a  capacity  to  seat  1,000  people.  The  other  rooms  are  much 
smaller.  There  is  the  fount-room,  where  baptisms  are  per- 
formed, for  the  Mormons,  like  the  Baptists,  believe  in 
immersion.  They  baptize  for  the  remission  of  sins,  and 
the  living,  acting  as  proxies,  are  baptized  for  the  dead. 

As  understood,  if  a  person  has  some  dear  friend  or  rela- 
tive who  has  passed  into  the  beyond  without  having  had 
the  saving  rite  of  baptism  administered,  the  living  can 
attend  to  that  little  formality  so  as  to  insure  the  dead  a 
peaceful  sojourn  in  the  agreeable  climate  of  the  hereafter? 

The  uninitiated  do  not  understand  the  purposes  of  Mor- 
mon temples.  They  are  not  intended  to  be  used  for  public 
worship.  Services  of  that  character  are  never  held  in  them. 
They  are  designed  to  be  used  for  the  meeting  of  the  priest- 
hood and  for  the  performances  of  ordinances  and  cere- 
monies of  marriage,  baptisms,  etc.,  and  for  the  administer- 
ing of  ecclesiastical  rites — the  conferring  of  priestly  degrees. 

Thousands  of  people  have  seen  this  great  monument 
which  has  been  built  by  this  peculiar  people  to  their  more 
peculiar  religion,  and  have  described  the  impressions  it 


made  on  them.  Some,  in  a  too-pronounced  enthusiasm, 
have  declared  it  to  be  a  wonder  in  architecture — a  triumph 
in  its  way — as  something  grand,  almost  marvelous  in  its 
conception.  It  is  not.  There  is  little  that  is  exceptionally 
remarkable  about  it.  True,  there  is  much  to  impress  one, 
but  it  is  rather  its  bigness  and  general  appearance  of 
solemnity  than  anything  else.  Then  there  is  something  in 
its  historical  associations,  the  great  difficulties  overcome, 
and  the  great  zeal  displayed  in  its  construction  that  inspires 

Rudyard  Kipling,  who  once  saw  it,  in  a  vein  of  his  keen- 
est satire  characterized  it  as  "architecturally  atrocious, 
ugly,  villainously  discordant,  contemptuously  correct,  alto- 
gether inartistic  and  unpoetical,"  and  other  adjectives 
equally  as  forcible  and  uncomplimentary.  But  he  was 
probably  more  severe  than  just  in  his  criticism.  There  is 
nothing  about  it  to  shock  the  artistic  eye,  and  there  are  a 
few  things  to  please. 

A  word  about  the  statue  that  is  perched  on  the  topmost 
pinnacle.  Certainly  that  is  pleasing  to  the  artistic  soul.  It 
is  the  work  of  a  finished  sculptor,  who  is  even  now  not 
wholly  unknown  to  fame.  He  is  C.  E.  Dallin,  and  was 
born  in  Salt  Lake  City  not  much  over  thirty  years  ago. 
But  the  statue:  It  is  not  of  marble,  but  of  hammered 
copper,  covered  with  gold.  To  the  eye  it  looks  as  if  it 
were  made  entirely  of  that  metal.  It  is  a  very  fascinating 
piece  of  work,  and  on  its  high  pedestal  it  glistens  in  the 
sunlight  as  if  made  of  fire.  One  prominent  Mormon  has 
said  the  statue  is  not  intended  to  represent  Gabriel,  but  the 
angel  Moroni  proclaiming  the  gospel  to  all  the  world.  It 
was  the  angel  Moroni,  it  will  be  remembered,  who  showed 
the  golden  plates  to  Joseph  Smith  from  which  the  Book  of 
Mormon  was  written. 

From  Dallin's  boyhood  he  began  to  display  the  artistic 


bent  and  temperament  of  his  nature.  Before  he  ever  had 
any  instruction,  he  modeled  in  clay  with  such  success  as  to 
attract  attention  to  his  work.  Then  he  went  abroad  to 
study,  and  at  the  Paris  Salon  of  1888  he  received  the  medal 
of  "Honorable  Merit"  for  his  "  Peace  Signal."  that  being 
a  full-sized  figure  of  an  Indian  brave  on  horseback  holding 
his  lance  in  such  a  manner  as  to  be  a  signal  to  his  fellow 
warriors  at  a  distance  that  all  was  well.  He  has  also  done 
other  meritorious  work,  and  is  at  present  engaged  on  a 
statue  to  be  built  on  one  of  the  corners  of  the  Temple 
Square  in  honor  of  Brigham  Young  and  the  Mormon 

There  have  been  many  extravagant  statements  made 
concerning  the  cost  of  this  temple.  Figures  have  been 
placed  as  high  as  $6,000,000,  which  is  nearly  double  its 
actual  cost.  As  it  stands  to-day,  $3,000,000  have  probably 
been  expended,  and  not  more  than  half  a  million  will  be 
required  to  complete  it. 

The  laying  of  this  cap-stone  practically  completes  the 
temple.  There  is  not  another  stone  to  be  laid,  all  that 
remains  to  be  done  being  confined  to  the  interior,  and  that 
is  mostly  in  a  decorative  way.  In  its  fulfillment  there  is 
great  rejoicing  in  the  hearts  of  the  Mormon  people.  It  has 
been  a  work  requiring  the  toil  of  years,  the  manifestation 
of  much  self-denial,  and  the  display  of  religious  earnestness 
and  sincerity  almost  without  a  parallel. 



When  I  grew  up  and  became  a  married  man,  with 
daughters  who  were  to  be  clothed  and  educated,  I  found  it 
impossible  to  make,  with  the  labor  of  one  man  on  a  farm, 
sufficient  money  to  meet  my  growing  necessities.  I  was 
raised  on  a  farm  and  had  always  been  a  farmer,  but  with 
increasing  expenses  I  was  compelled  to  go  into  business  of 
some  kind,  where  I  could  accumulate  a  sufficiency  for  such 

As  I  was  brought  up  to  handle  animals,  and  had  been 
employed  more  or  less  in  the  teaming  business,  after  look- 
ing the  situation  all  over,  it  occurred  to  me  there  was 
nothing  I  was  so  well  adapted  for  by  my  past  experience  as 
the  freighting  business  that  was  then  being  conducted  be- 
tween Independence,  Mo.,  and  Santa  Fe,  New  Mexico,  a 
distance  of  800  miles. 

At  that  time  almost  the  entire  distance  lay  through 
Indian  Territory,  where  we  were  likely,  on  a  greater  portion 
of  the  trail,  to  meet  hostile  Indians  any  moment. 

Being  a  religious  man  and  opposed  to  all  kinds  of  pro- 
fanity, and  knowing  the  practice  of  teamsters,  almost  with- 
out an  exception,  was  to  use  profane  and  vulgar  language, 
and  to  travel  upon  the  Sabbath  day,  another  difficulty  pre- 
sented itself  to  my  mind  which  had  to  be  overcome. 

After  due  reflection  on  this  subject  I  resolved  in  my 
innermost  nature,  by  the  help  of  God,  I  would  overcome  aU 
difficulties  that  presented  themselves  to  my  mind,  let  the 
hazard  be  whatever  it  might.     This  resolve  I  carried  out, 

(71  I 


and  it  was  the  keynote  to  my  great  success  in  the  manage- 
ment of  men  and  animals. 

Having  reached  this  determination,  and  being  ready  to 
embark  in  my  new  business,  I  formulated  a  code  of  rules 
for  the  behavior  of  my  employes,  which  read  as  follows: 

"While  I  am  in  the  employ  of  A.  Majors,  I  agree  not  to 
use  profane  language,  not  to  get  drunk,  not  to  gamble,  not 
to  treat  animals  cruelly,  and  not  to  do  anything  else  that  is 
incompatible  with  the  conduct  of  a  gentleman.  And  I 
agree,  if  I  violate  any  of  the  above  conditions,  to  accept 
my  discharge  without  any  pay  for  my  services." 

I  do  not  remember  a  single  instance  of  a  man  signing 
these  "iron-clad  rules,"  as  they  called  them,  being  dis- 
charged without  his  pay.  My  employes  seemed  to  under- 
stand in  the  beginning  of  their  term  of  service  that  their 
good  behavior  was  part  of  the  recompense  they  gave  me 
for  the  money  I  paid  them. 

A  few  years  later,  when  the  Civil  War  had  commenced,  I 
bound  my  employes  to  pay  true  allegiance  to  the  Govern- 
ment of  the  United  States,  while  in  my  employ,  in  addition 
to  the  above. 

I  will  say  to  my  readers  that,  had  I  had  the  experience  of 
a  thousand  years,  I  could  not  have  formulated  a  better 
code  of  rules  for  the  government  of  my  business  than  those 
adopted,  looking  entirely  from  a  moral  standpoint.  The 
result  proved  to  be  worth  more  to  me  in  a  money  point  of 
view  than  that  resulting  from  any  other  course  I  could 
have  pursued,  for  with  the  enforcement  of  these  rules, 
which  I  had  little  trouble  to  do,  a  few  years  gave  me  con- 
trol of  the  business  of  the  plains  and,  of  course,  a  wide- 
spread reputation  for  conducting  business  on  a  humane 

I  can  state  with  truthfulness  that  never  in  the  history  of 
freighting  on  the  plains  did  such  quiet,  gentlemanly,  fra- 


ternal  feelings  exist  as  among  the  men  who  were  in  my  em- 
ploy and  governed  by  these  rules. 

It  was  the  prevalent  opinion,  previous  to  the  time  I 
started  across  the  plains,  that  none  but  daring,  rough  men 
were  fit  to  contend  with  the  Indians  and  manage  teamsters 
upon  those  trips.  I  soon  proved  to  the  entire  contrary  this 
was  a  great  mistake,  for  it  was  soon  observable  that  both 
men  and  animals  working  under  this  system  were  superior, 
and  got  along  better  in  every  way  than  those  working 
under  the  old  idea  of  ruffianism. 

It  is  my  firm  conviction  that  where  men  are  born  com- 
manders or  managers  there  is  no  need  of  the  cruelty  and 
punishment  so  often  dealt  out  by  so  many  in  authority. 
With  men  who  have  the  key  of  government  in  their  natures 
there  is  little  trouble  in  getting  employes  to  conform  strictly 
to  their  duty. 

I  have  seen,  to  my  great  regret  and  dislike,  such  cruelty 
practiced  by  army  officers  in  command,  and  managers  upon 
steamships  on  the  seas  and  steamboats  on  the  rivers,  as 
well  as  other  places  where  men  were  in  charge  of  their  fellow 
beings  and  had  command  over  them,  as  should  receive  the 
most  outspoken  protest,  and  ought  not  to  be  tolerated  in 

If  men  in  charge  would  first  control  themselves  and  carry 
out,  in  their  management  of  others,  the  true  principles  of 
humanity  and  kindness,  pursuing  a  firm  and  consistent 
course  of  conduct  themselves,  wearing  at  the  same  time  an 
easy  and  becoming  dignity,  it  would  do  away  with  all  the 
cruelties  that  have  so  often  shocked  humanity  and  caused 
needless  suffering  to  those  who  were  compelled  to  endure 
them.  I  found  that  an  ounce  of  dignity  on  the  plains  was 
worth  more  than  a  pound  at  home  or  in  organized  society. 

With  all  the  thousands  of  men  I  had  in  my  employ  it 
was  never  necessary  to  do  more  than  give  a  manly  rebuke, 


if  any  one  committed  any  misdemeanor,  to  avoid  a 
repetition  of  the  offense. 

In  all  my  vast  business  on  the  plains  I  adhered  strictly 
as  possible  to  keeping  the  Sabbath  day,  and  avoided 
traveling  or  doing  any  unnecessary  work.  This  fact  enabled 
me  to  carry  out  perfectly  the  "  iron-clad  rules  "  with  my 
employes.  When  they  saw  I  was  willing  to  pay  them  the 
same  price  as  that  paid  for  work  including  the  Sabbath  day, 
and  let  them  rest  on  that  day,  it  made  them  feel  I  was 
consistent  in  requiring  them  to  conduct  themselves  as 

In  later  years,  when  my  business  had  so  increased  and 
the  firm  of  Majors  &  Russell  was  formed,  I  insisted  on 
carrying  my  system  of  government  and  management  into 
the  business  of  the  new  firm,  and  the  same  course  was  pur- 
sued by  the  firm  of  Russell,  Majors  &  Waddell  as  I  have 
above  narrated. 

Notwithstanding  the  disagreeable  features  mentioned,  I 
selected  this  avocation,  and  on  the  10th  day  of  August, 
1848,  with  my  first  little  outfit  of  six  wagons  and  teams, 
started  in  business. 

At  that  time  it  was  considered  hazardous  to  start  on  a 
trip  of  that  kind  so  late  in  the  season;  but  I  made  that 
trip  with  remarkable  success,  making  the  round  run  in  ninety- 
two  days,  the  quickest  on  record  with  ox  teams,  many  of 
my  oxen  being  in  such  good  condition  when  I  returned  as 
to  look  as  though  they  had  not  been  on  the  road.  This 
fact  gave  me  quite  a  reputation  among  the  freighters  and 
merchants  who  were  engaged  in  business  between  the  two 
points  above  mentioned. 

I  was  by  no  means  the  first  to  engage  in  the  trade 
between  Mexico  and  the  United  States,  for  as  early  as 
1822  Captain  Rockwell  started  in  the  trade,  carrying  goods 
in  packs  on  mules. 

MY    FIRST    VENTURE.  75 

The  next  notable  era  in  the  line  of  this  trade  was  the 
introduction  of  wagons  in  the  year  1824.  This,  of  course, 
was  an  experiment,  as  there  were  no  beaten  roads,  and  the 
sand  on  some  portions  of  the  route  was  so  deep  (the  worst 
part  being  in  the  valley  of  the  Cimarron)  that  it  was 
doubted  whether  wagons  could  be  used  with  success.  But 
the  experiment  proved  to  be  so  much  superior  to  packing 
that  it  did  away  entirely  with  the  former  mode;  and  wagon- 
makers  at  St.  Louis  and  Independence,  Mo.,  commenced  to 
build  wagons  adapted  solely  to  that  trade. 

It  was  not  long  after  the  adoption  of  wagon  trains  on 
that  route  until  there  was  a  wide  and  well-beaten  road  the 
entire  distance,  the  country  over  which  it  passed  being 
level  plains,  requiring  no  bridges;  but  little  work  of  any 
kind  was  necessary  to  keep  the  thoroughfare  in  good  trav- 
eling condition. 

On  a  large  portion  of  the  route  there  was  an  abundance 
of  grass  and  water  for  the  work  animals.  In  those  early 
days  a  belt  of  at  least  400  miles  was  covered  with  herds  of 

This  crossing  with  large  and  heavy  trains  so  well  estab- 
lished the  route  that,  by  the  year  1846,  the  people  on  the 
west  border  of  Missouri  were  equipped  and  prepared  in 
every  way  for  transporting  the  supplies  for  Colonel  Doni- 
phan's army,  when  he  was  ordered  to  cross  from  Fort 
Leavenworth,  Kan.,  to  Santa  Fe,  N.  M.,  at  the  commence- 
ment of  the  war  between  the  United  States  and  Mexico. 

To  return  to  my  own  operations  in  the  freighting  busi- 
ness, it  will  be  seen  by  the  foregoing  dates  mentioned  in 
this  article  that"  two  years  later  I  made  my  first  start,  and 
I  met  on  my  outward-bound  trip  many  of  the  troops  of 
Colonel  Doniphan  returning  home,  the  war  being  over  and 
peace  having  been  made  between  the  two  countries. 

I  continued  in  the  freighting  business  continuously  from 


1848  to  1866,  most  of  the  time  in  the  employ  of  the  United 
States  Government,  carrying  stores  to  different  forts  and 
stations  in  the  Western  Territories,  New  Mexico,  Colorado, 
and  Utah.  Having  freighted  on  my  own  account  for  about 
seven  years,  in  1855  I  went  into  partnership  with  Messrs. 
Russell  &  Waddell,  residents  of  Lexington,  Lafayette 
County,  Mo.,  my  home  being  still  in  Jackson  County,  Mo. 
We  did  business  three  years  under  the  firm  name  of  Majors 
&  Russell.  In  1858,  when  we  obtained  a  contract  from  the 
Government  for  transporting  supplies  to  Utah,  the  name  of 
the  firm  was  changed  to  Russell,  Majors  &  Waddell. 

At  this  time  freighting  for  the  Government  had  increased 
enormously  on  account  of  General  Johnston,  with  an  army, 
having  been  sent  to  Utah.  All  of  the  supplies  for  the  sol- 
diers and  much  of  the  grain  for  the  animals  had  to  be 
transported  in  wagons  from  the  Missouri  River.  However, 
one  of  the  conditions  of  the  contract  the  firm  made  with 
the  Government,  through  the  Quartermaster-General  at 
Washington,  was  that  they  should  have  another  starting- 
point  other  than  Fort  Leavenworth,  the  established  depot 
for  supplies  going  west. 

I  made  this  proposition  to  General  Jessup,  knowing, 
from  my  long  experience  in  handling  that  kind  of  busi- 
ness, that  it  would  be  next  to  impossible  to  handle  the  sup- 
plies from  one  depot,  as  there  were  not  herding  grounds 
within  a  reasonable  distance  to  keep  such  a  vast  number  of 
cattle  as  the  business  would  require  when  conducted  from 
one  point. 

My  partner,  Mr.  Russell,  remarked  to  me  that  if  he  had 
to  make  a  station  higher  up  the  river  I  would  have  to  go 
and  attend  to  it,  for  he  could  not.  My  answer  was  I  would 
willingly  do  so,  for  I  knew  that  loading  hundreds  of  thou- 
sands of  pounds  of  supplies  daily  would  create  a  confusion 
at  one  point  as  would  retard  the  business. 

MY    I  [RST    VENTURE.  ',  J 

It  was  then  and  there  agreed  between  the  quartermaster 
and  ourselves  that  one-half  the  entire  stores  should  be  sent 
to  another  point  to  be  selected  by  his  clerk  and  myself. 

Immediately  after  the  contract  was  signed  I  went  to  Fort 
Leavenworth,  and  with  Lieutenant  Dubarry  of  the  Quar- 
termaster's Department  set  out  to  locate  another  point. 
We  traveled  up  the  Missouri  River  as  far  as  Plattsmouth, 
when  we  concluded  Nebraska  City,  Neb.,  was  the  most 
available  point  upon  the  river  for  our  business.  I  at  once 
arranged  with  the  citizens  of  that  town  to  build  warehouses, 
preparatory  to  receiving  the  large  quantities  of  supplies  the 
Government  would  soon  begin  to  ship  to  that  point. 

The  supplies  sent  to  Utah  in  the  year  1858  were  enor- 
mous, being  over  sixteen  million  pounds,  requiring  over 
three  thousand  five  hundred  large  wagons  and  teams  to 
transport  them.  We  found  it  was  as  much  as  we  could  do 
to  meet  the  Government  requirements  with  the  two  points 
in  full  operation. 

As  agreed,  I  took  charge  of  the  new  station  and  moved 
my  family  from  my  farm,  nine  miles  south  of  Kansas  City, 
Mo.,  to  Nebraska  City,  where  I  bought  a  home  for  them 
and  commenced  to  carry  out  my  part  of  the  agreement. 

The  firm  of  Russell,  Majors  &  Waddell  conducted  the 
business  for  two  years,  and  in  the  spring  of  i860  I  bought 
out  my  partners  and  continued  the  business  in  my  own 
name  that  year. 

In  Nebraska  City  I  found  a  very  intelligent,  enterprising, 
and  clever  people,  among  whom  were  S.  F.  Knuckle,  J. 
Sterling  Morton,  Robert  Hawk  Dillon,  Colonel  Tewksberry, 
McCann,  Metcalf,  Rhodes,  O.  P.  Mason,  Judge  Kinney, 
Rinkers,  Seigle,  and  a  great  many  others  of  integrity  and 
enterprise.  I  never  did  business  more  pleasantly  than  with 
the  gentlemen  whom  I  met  during  my  residence  of  nine 
years  there. 



To  one  who  has  had  to  make  friends  of  the  brute  crea- 
tion, it  is  natural  for  him  to  claim  companionship  with 
those  domestic  animals  with  which  he  is  constantly  drawn 
by  day  and  night,  such  as  horses,  oxen,  mules,  and  dogs. 
The  clog  is  most  thoroughly  the  comrade  of  those  who 
dwell  upon  the  frontier,  and  a  chapter  regarding  them  will 
not,  I  feel,  be  uninteresting  to  the  reader. 

I  have  always  been  a  great  admirer  of  a  good  dog,  but 
my  knowledge  of  them  is  a  general  one,  such  as  you  and  a 
great  many  other  Western  men  have.  I  have  never  made 
him  a  scientific  study,  but  I  think  he  is  the  only  domestic 
animal,  and  I  don't  know  but  the  only  animal  that  takes  a 
joint  ownership  in  all  of  his  master's  property  so  far  as  he 
can  comprehend  it,  whether  it  be  personal,  portable,  or 
realistic;  in  other  words,  the  man  owns  the  dog  and  his 
other  property,  and  the  dog  seems  to  claim  or  own  the  man 
and  all  of  his  other  effects,  so  far  as  he  can  comprehend 

I  had  a  Shepherd  dog  that  would  not  allow  a  stranger  to 
take  hold  of  me  or  my  horse,  saddle,  bridle,  rope,  spurs, 
gun,  or  anything  else  that  he  thought  belonged  to  us,  with- 
out making  a  fuss  about  it,  and  he  seemed  to  think  step- 
ping upon  a  rope  or  blanket,  or  anything  of  that  kind,  was 
just  the  same  as  taking  hold  with  the  hands,  and  yet  he 
was  very  good-natured  with  strangers  otherwise. 

He  was  very  fond  of  playing  with  other  dogs,  especially 
young  ones  on  the  pup  order,  but  if  they  ever  took  any 
.    .  (78) 


freedom  with  our  joint  property,  there  was  sure  to  be 
trouble.  He  would  not  allow  them  to  take  hold  of,  or  sleep 
on,  or  lay  down  in  the  shade  of  a  horse,  wagon,  buggy,  or 
do  anything  that  he  thought  was  taking  too  much  liberty 
with  his  peculiar  rights.  He  would  go  almost  any  distance 
to  hunt  anything  that  I  would  lose,  and  was  very  quick  to 
pick  up  anything  that  I  would  drop,  and  give  it  to  me  with- 
out mussing  it,  whether  I  was  walking  or  on  horseback. 

He  was  a  good  retriever,  either  on  land  or  water,  and 
would  cross  a  river  to  get  a  goose  or  duck  if  it  fell  on  the 
opposite  side  after  being  shot.  He  would  also  take  hold 
of  one  hind  leg  of  a  deer  or  antelope  and  help  me  all  he 
could  to  drag  it  home  or  to  where  I  would  leave  my  horse, 
but  he  was  more  help  in  driving  and  handling  stock  than 
in  any  other  way.  He  would  also  go  after  a  horse  that 
would  get  away,  with  a  bridle  or  rope  on,  and  catch  him 
by  the  rein  or  rope  and  bring  him  back  if  he  could  lead 
him,  or  if  not,  he  would  try  and  hold  on  until  I  would  come 
up.  He  had  a  great  many  other  minor  tricks  to  make 
sport  for  the  boys  in  camp,  such  as  speaking,  jumping, 
waltzing,  etc.,  and  he  would  also  carry  in  wood  to  make 
fires  with,  and  thus  save  the  men  trouble. 

I  have  also  had  experience  with  the  Newfoundland  and 
the  Setter  dogs,  and  found  them  fully  as  easy  to  train  and  as 
faithful  as  the  Shepherd  dog  I  have  written  about.  A 
Newfoundland  that  I  brought  down  from  Montana  with 
me  would  do  almost  anything  that  it  was  possible  for  a  dog 
to  do.  When  living  in  Salt  Lake  City  I  saw  my  daughter 
send  him  after  an  apple  once  when  she  was  sitting  in  a 
room  up  stairs.  He  went  down  and  found  the  doors  all 
fastened,  so  he  came  back  and  went  out  at  an  upstairs  win- 
dow and  onto  a  lower  roof  and  from  there  down  on  a  com- 
mon rung  ladder  to  the  ground  and  out  into  some  one's 
orchard,  got  an  apple,  and  returned  the  same  way,  and  did 


it  quicker  than  any  boy  could  possibly  have  performed  the 
same  thing.  But  of  course  he  knew  where  the  ladder  was, 
and  had  climbed  up  and  down  it  many  times  before  that. 
I  used  to  see  the  children  in  our  neighborhood  sending 
this  dog  over  in  the  orchards  after  apples,  while  they 
remained  at  the  fence  outside,  and  he  would  keep  going 
and  returning  with  the  apples  until  they  were  satisfied. 
The  people  never  objected  that  owned  the  fruit,  as  they 
thought  it  so  smart  in  the  dog  to  steal  for  the  children 
that  which  he  did  not  eat  himself. 

It  came  to  my  knowledge  once  of  a  dumb  beast  that 
showed  the  intelligence  of  a  human  being. 

He  was  only  a  dog,  but  a  remarkably  clever  one.  He 
belonged  to  the  class  known  as  Shepherd  dogs,  which  are 
noted  for  their  sagacity  and  fidelity.  His  master  was 
a  little  Italian  boy  called  Beppo,  who  earned  his  living  by 
selling  flowers  on  the  street. 

Tony  was  very  fond  of  Beppo,  who  had  been  his  master 
ever  since  he  was  a  puppy,  and  Beppo  had  never  failed  to 
share  his  crust  with  his  good  dog.  Now,  Tony  had  grown 
to  be  a  large,  strong  dog,  and  took  as  much  care  of  Beppo 
as  Beppo  took  of  him.  Often  while  standing  on  the  corner 
with  his  basket  on  his  arm,  waiting  for  a  customer,  Beppo 
would  feel  inclined  to  cry  from  very  loneliness;  but  Tony 
seemed  to  know  when  the  "blues"  came,  and  would  lick 
his  master's  hand,  as  much  as  to  say:  "  You've  got  me  for 
a  friend.  Cheer  up!  I'm  better  than  nobody;  I'll  stand  by 

But  one  day  it  happened  that  when  the  other  boys  who 
shared  the  dark  cellar  home  with  Beppo  went  out  early  in 
the  morning  as  usual,  Beppo  was  so  ill  that  he  could 
hardly  lift  his  head  from  the  straw  on  which  he  slept.  He 
felt  that  he  would  be  unable  to  sell  flowers  that  day. 
What  to  do  he  did  not  know.     Tony. did  his  best  to  com- 


fort  him,  but  the  tears  would  gather  in  his  eyes,  and  it  was 
with  the  greatest  difficulty  that  he  at  last  forced  himself  to 
get  up  and  go  to  the  florist,  who  lived  near  by,  for  the 
usual  supply  of  buds. 

Having  filled  his  basket,  the  boy  went  home  again  and 
tied  it  around  Tony's  neck;  then  he  looked  at  the  dog  and 
said:  "Now,  Tony,  you're  the  only  fellow  I've  got  to 
depend  on.  Go  and  sell  my  flowers  for  me,  and  bring  the 
money  home  safe;  don't  let  anyone  steal  anything." 

Then  he  kissed  the  dog  and  pointed  to  the  door. 

Tony  trotted  out  to  the  street  to  Beppo's  usual  corner, 
where  he  took  his  stand.  Beppo's  customers  soon  saw  how 
matters  stood,  and  chose  their  flowers,  and  put  their 
money  into  the  tin  cup  in  the  center  of  the  basket.  Now 
and  then,  when  a  rude  boy  would  come  along  and  try  to 
snatch  a  flower  from  the  basket,  Tony  would  growl  fiercely 
and  drive  him  away. 

So  that  day  went  safely  by,  and  at  nightfall  Tony  went 
home  to  his  master,  who  was  waiting  anxiously  for  him, 
and  gave  him  a  hearty  welcome.  Beppo  untied  the  basket 
and  looked  in  the  cup,  and  I  should  not  wonder  if  he  found 
more  money  in  it  than  ever  before.  This  is  how  Tony  sold 
the  rosebuds,  and  he  did  it  so  well  that  Beppo  never  tired 
of  telling  me  about  it. 

A  farmer's  dog  who  had  been  found  guilty  of  obtaining 
goods  under  false  pretenses  is  worthy  of  mention.  He 
was  extremely  fond  of  sausages,  and  had  been  taught  by 
his  owner  to  go  after  them  for  him,  carrying  a  written 
order  in  his  mouth.  Day  after  day  he  appeared  at  the 
butcher-shop,  bringing  his  master's  order,  and  by  and  by 
the  butcher  became  careless  about  reading  the  document. 
Finally,  when  settlement  day  came,  the  farmer  complained 
that  he  was  charged  with  more  sausage  than  he  had 
ordered.  The  butcher  was  surprised,  and  the  next  time 


Lion  came  in  with  a  slip  of  paper  between  his  teeth  he  took 
the  trouble  to  look  at  it.  The  paper  was  blank,  and 
further  investigation  showed  that  whenever  the  dog  felt  a 
craving  for  sausage,  he  looked  around  for  a  piece  of  paper, 
and  trotted  off  to  the  butcher's.  The  farmer  is  something 
out  of  pocket,  but  squares  the  account  by  boasting  of  the 
dog's  intelligence,  which  enabled  him  to  deliberately  steal 
for  him,  and  deceive  the  butcher  to  do  so. 

While  in  Edinburgh,  Scotland,  where  my  wife  and  I 
remained  for  a  year,  our  apartments  were  cared  for  by  an 
English  maid,  who  owned  a  very  fine  Scotch  terrier. 
Whenever  she  would  come  to  our  rooms  the  dog  accom- 
panied her,  and  soon  became  very  much  attached  to  me, 
and  would  come  into  our  apartments  whenever  an  oppor- 
tunity offered,  to  pay  his  respects  to  me.  My  wife  had  a 
great  aversion  to  dogs  of  all  kinds,  and  particularly 
objected  to  having  one  in  the  room  with  her,  as  she 
declared  she  could  feel  fleas  immediately  upon  the  appear- 
ance of  a  canine,  no  matter  how  far  away  they  were  from 

One  morning,  while  I  was  quietly  reading,  my  wife  being 
busy  in  another  part  of  the  room,  the  dog  slipped  in  and 
succeeded  in  establishing  himself  under  my  chair,  without 
either  of  us  being  aware  of  his  presence;  but  before  many 
minutes  had  passed  my  wife  discovered  him,  and  remon- 
strated with  me  at  once  for  allowing  him  to  come  in,  when 
I  knew  so  well  how  she  detested  him.  I  assured  her  of 
my  ignorance  as  to  his  presence,  but  said  nothing  whatever 
to  the  dog.  He  arose  with  a  crest-fallen  air,  and  with  his 
tail  tucked  between  his  legs,  walked  slowly  across  the 
room,  stopping  in  the  doorway  to  look  once  at  Mrs. 
Majors,  with  the  most  reproachful,  abused  expression  I 
have  ever  seen  on  any  creature's  face. 

After  that  he  always  endeavored  to  make  his  calls  upon 


me  when  Mrs.  Majors  was  absent,  and  would  often  come 
up  and  wait  in  one  end  of  the  hall  until  he  would  see  her 
go  into  the  adjoining  room,  when  he  would  come  to  see 
me,  but  immediately  upon  hearing  her  opening  the  door  of 
the  other  room,  he  would  make  a  break  for  the  door,  mak- 
ing his  escape  before  she  would  reach  the  room;  and  this, 
too,  when  she  had  never  been  unkind  to  him  except  in 
what  she  said  of  him. 

One  morning  while  the  landlady  and  her  servant  were 
"doing  up"  our  sleeping  apartment,  the  dog  as  usual 
accompanying  the  servant,  Mrs.  Majors  stepped  into  the 
room  to  speak  to  the  landlady,  and  the  servant,  knowing 
the  clog's  fondness  for  me,  said: 

'•Prince,  ask  Mrs.  Majors  if  you  can't  go  in  to  see  Mr. 
Majors."  He  turned  around,  went  up  to  Mrs.  Majors  and 
commenced  jumping  up  and  down  in  front  of  her,  asking 
as  plain  as  dogs  can  speak  for  the  coveted  permission.  My 
wife  could  not  help  laughing,  and  said,  "  Well,  sir,  you  have 
won  me  over  this  time;  you  can  go,"  whereupon  he  made  a 
rush  for  the  other  room,  leaped  upon  my  lap,  and  seemed 
fairly  wild  with  joy.  I  could  not  understand  his  unusual 
demonstrations  until  Mrs.  Majors  came  in  and  explained. 

A  friend  who  owned  a  very  fine  dog  was  one  morning 
accosted  by  a  neighbor,  who  accused  the  dog  of  having 
killed  several  of  his  sheep  in  the  night.  The  owner  said 
he  thought  it  was  a  mistake,  as  he  had  never  known  the 
dog  to  be  guilty  of  such  tricks,  and  after  some  discussion 
it  was  decided  to  examine  the  dog's  mouth,  and  if  wool 
was  found  sticking  in  his  teeth,  they  would  believe  him 
guilty,  and  the  man  who  had  lost  the  sheep  could  kill  him. 
They  called  the  dog  up  while  talking  about  it,  and  the 
master  opened  his  mouth,  and  to  his  grief,  found  the  evi- 
dence of  his  crime  between  his  teeth.  The  neighbor  knew 
the  man's  attachment  for  the  dog,  and  not  wishing  to  kill 


him  in  his  presence,  said  he  would  defer  the  execution  until 
a  more  convenient  time.  The  dog  heard  the  conversation, 
appeared  to  understand  the  situation  perfectly,  and  when 
the  neighbor  tried  later  to  find  him,  he  had  disappeared, 
and  neither  the  owner  nor  the  neighbor  ever  heard  of  him 
again.  He  fled  to  parts  unknown,  thus  showing  his  wis- 
dom by  putting  himself  out  of  harm's  way. 

It  is  hardly  possible  to  say  enough  in  the  praise  of  the 
dog  family,  especially  regarding  their  services  to  the  pioneers 
in  the  settlement  of  the  Mississippi  Valley  and  frontier. 
At  that  time,  bears,  panthers,  wolves,  and  small  animals  of 
prey  were  so  thick  that  without  the  aid  of  dogs  the  stock, 
such  as  pigs,  lambs,  poultry,  and  such  small  animals,  would 
have  been  completely  destroyed  in  one  single  night.  The 
dogs  were  constantly  on  guard,  night  and  day,  storm  or 
sunshine,  and  upon  the  approach  of  an  enemy,  would  warn 
the  pioneers,  giving  them  a  sense  of  security  against  danger. 
They  knew  by  the  smell,  often  before  hearing  or  seeing  an 
enemy,  and  would  give  out  the  warning  long  before  the 
pioneers  themselves  could  have  known  of  the  proximity  of 
the  wild  beasts.  As  a  rule  those  faithful  friends  and  pro- 
tectors of  our  race  have  not  been  appreciated,  more  espe- 
cially, as  above  stated,  in  the  settlement  of  the  frontier,  for 
without  them  it  would  have  been  impossible  for  the  pioneers 
to  have  saved  their  stock  and  poultry  from  the  ravages  of 
the  wild  beasts.  I  could  write  a  volume  upon  the  sagacity, 
faithfulness,  and  intelligence  of  these  remarkable  animals, 
as  during  my  life  in  the  Wild  West  I  learned  to  fully  appre- 
ciate them. 



On  the  18th  of  June,  1846,  A.  W.  Doniphan  was  elected 
colonel  of  the  regiment  that  he  commanded  in  the  Mexi- 
can War.  In  his  speech  at  Independence,  Jackson  County, 
Mo.,  on  July  29,  1837,  he  declared  he  had  not  been  a  can- 
didate for  office  for  seven  years,  and  did  not  expect  to  be 
for  the  next  seventy  years  to  come.  The  passage  by  the 
American  Congress  of  the  resolutions  of  annexation,  by 
which  the  republic  of  Texas  was  incorporated  into  the 
Union  as  one  of  the  States,  having  merged  her  sovereignty 
into  that  of  our  own  Government,  was  the  prime  cause 
which  led  to  the  war  with  Mexico.  However,  the  more 
immediate  cause  of  the  war  may  be  traced  to  the  occupa- 
tion by  the  American  army  of  the  strip  of  disputed  terri- 
tory lying  between  the  Nueces  and  the  Rio  Grande. 

Bigoted  and  insulting,  Mexico  was  always  prompt  to 
manifest  her  hostility  toward  this  Government,  and  sought 
the  earliest  plausible  pretext  for  declaring  war  against  the 
United  States.  This  declaration  of  war  by  the  Mexican 
government,  which  bore  date  in  April,  1846,  was  quickly 
and  spiritedly  followed  by  a  manifesto  from  our  Congress 
at  Washington,  announcing  that  a  state  of  war  existed 
between  Mexico  and  the  United  States.  Soon  after  this 
counter  declaration,  the  Mexicans  crossed  the  Rio 
Grande  in  strong  force,  headed  by  the  famous  generals, 
Arista  and  Ampudia.  This  force,  as  is  well  known,  was 
defeated  at  Palo  Alto  on  the  iSth,  and  at  Resaca  de  la 
Palma   on   May  9,   1846,  by   the    troops  under  command 



of  Major-General  Taylor,  and  repulsed  with  great  slaugh- 
ter. The  whole  Union  was  in  a  state  of  intense  excite- 
ment. General  Taylor's  recent  and  glorious  victories 
were  the  constant  theme  of  universal  admiration.  The 
war  had  actually  begun;  and  that,  too,  in  a  manner 
which  demanded  immediate  action.  The  United  States 
Congress  passed  an  act  about  the  middle  of  May,  1846, 
authorizing  President  Polk  to  call  into  the  field  50,000  vol* 
unteers  designed  to  operate  against  Mexico  at  three  distinct 
points,  namely:  The  southern  wing,  or  the  "Army  of  Occu- 
pation," commanded  by  Major-General  Taylor,  to  penetrate 
directly  into  the  heart  of  the  country;  the  column  under 
Brigadier-General  Wool,  or  the  "  Army  of  the  Center,"  to 
operate  against  the  city  of  Chihuahua;  and  the  expedi- 
tion under  the  command  of  Colonel  (afterward  Brigadier- 
General)  Kearney,  known  as  the  "Army  of  the  West,"  to 
direct  its  march  upon  the  city  of  Santa  Fe.  This  was  the 
original  plan  of  operations  against  Mexico,  but  subse- 
quently the  plan  was  changed.  Major-General  Scott,  with 
a  well-appointed  army,  was  sent  to  Vera  Cruz,  General 
Wool  effected  a  junction  with  General  Taylor  at  Saltillo, 
and  General  Kearney  divided  his  force  into  three  separate 
commands;  the  first  he  led  in  person  to  the  distant  shores 
of  the  Pacific.  A  detachment  of  nearly  eleven  hundred  Mis- 
souri volunteers,  under  command  of  Col.  A.  W.  Doniphan, 
was  ordered  to  make  a  descent  upon  the  State  of  Chihua- 
hua, expecting  to  join  General  Wool's  division  at  the  capi- 
tal, while  the  greater  part  was  left  as  a  garrison  at  Santa 
Fe,  under  command  of  Col.  Sterling  Price.  The  greatest 
eagerness  was  manifested  by  the  citizens  of  the  United 
States  to  engage  in  the  war,  to  redress  our  wrongs,  to  repel 
an  insulting  foe,  and  to  vindicate  our  national  honor  and 
the  honor  of  our  oft-insulted  flag. 

The  call  of  the  President  was  promptly  responded  to, 

OUR    WAR   WITH    MEXICO.  87 

but  of  the  50,000  volunteers  at  first  authorized  to  be  raised, 
the  service  of  about  17,000  only  were  required.  The  cruel 
an  inhuman  butchery  of  Colonel  Fannin  and  his  men,  all 
Americans,  the  subsequent  and  indiscriminate  murder  of 
all  Texans  who  unfortunately  fell  into  Mexican  hands;  the 
repeated  acts  of  cruelty  and  injustice  perpetrated  upon  the 
persons  and  property  of  American  citizens  residing  in  the 
northern  Mexican  provinces;  the  imprisonment  of  Ameri- 
can merchants  without  the  semblance  of  a  trial  by  jury, 
and  the  forcible  seizure  and  confiscation  of  their  goods; 
the  robbing  of  American  travelers  and  tourists  in  the 
Mexican  country  of  their  passports  and  other  means  of 
safety,  whereby  they  were  in  certain  instances  deprived  of 
their  liberty  for  a  time;  the  forcible  detention  of  American 
citizens,  sometimes  in  prison  and  other  times  in  free 
custody;  the  recent  blockade  of  the  Mexican  ports  against 
the  United  States  trade;  the  repeated  insults  offered  our 
national  flag;  the  contemptuous  ill  treatment  of  our  minis- 
ters, some  of  whom  were  spurned  with  their  credentials; 
the  supercilious  and  menacing  air  uniformly  manifested 
toward  the  Government,  which  with  characteristic  forbear- 
ance and  courtesy  had  endeavored  to  maintain  a  friendly 
understanding;  Mexico's  hasty  and  unprovoked  declara- 
tion of  war  against  the  United  States;  the  army's  uncere- 
monious passage  of  the  Rio  Grande  in  strong  force  and 
with  hostile  intentions;  her  refusal  to  pay  indemnities,  and 
a  complication  of  lesser  evils,  all  of  which  had  been  per- 
petrated by  the  Mexican  authorities,  or  by  unauthorized 
Mexican  citizens,  in  a  manner  which  clearly  evinced  the 
determination  on  the  part  of  Mexico  to  terminate  the 
amicable  relations  hitherto  existing  between  the  two  coun- 
tries, were  the  causes  which  justified  the  war. 

On  the  18th  day  of  August,  1846,  after  a  tiresome  march 
of  nearly  900  miles  in  less  than  fifty  days,  General  Kearney 


with  his  whole  command  entered  Santa  Fe,  the  capital  of 
the  province  of  New  Mexico,  and  took  peaceable  possession 
of  the  country,  without  the  loss  of  a  single  man  or  shedding 
a  drop  of  blood,  in  the  name  of  the  United  States,  and 
planted  the  American  flag  in  the  public  square,  where  the 
stars  and  stripes  and  eagle  streamed  above  the  Palacio 
Grande,  or  stately  residence  of  ex-Governor  Armigo. 

On  the  29th  of  July,  1847,  Captain  Ruff  was  dispatched 
by  General  Smith  with  a  squadron  composed  of  one  com- 
pany of  the  Second  Dragoons  under  Lieutenant  Hawesand 
his  own  company  of  mounted  riflemen,  in  all  eighty-six  men, 
to  attack  the  town  of  San  Juan  de  los  Lianos.  In  this 
engagement  the  Mexicans  lost  forty-three  killed  and  fifty 
wounded.  Only  one  American  was  wounded  and  none 
killed.  At  the  battle  of  San  Pascual,  on  the  morning  of  the 
6th  of  December,  General  Kearney  commanding,  with  Cap- 
tains Johnson,  Moore,  and  Hammond  as  principal  aids, 
drove  the  enemy  from  the  field.  Loss  not  known.  Ameri- 
can loss,  seventeen  killed  and  fourteen  wounded.  On  the 
5th  of  November,  1846,  a  small  detachment  of  forty-five 
volunteers,  commanded  by  Captains  Thompson  and  Bur- 
rows, met  and  totally  defeated  200  Californians  on  the 
plains  of  Salinas,  near  Monterey.  American  loss,  four 
killed  and  two  wounded.  On  the  8th  of  January  Gen- 
eral Kearney  and  Commodore  Stockton,  with  500  men,  met 
the  insurgents,  600  strong,  to  dispute  the  passage  of  the 
river  San  Gabriel.  This  action  lasted  one  hour  and  a  half. 
The  next  day  the  Mexicans  were  again  repulsed.  Their 
loss  on  both  days  estimated  in  killed  and  wounded  not  less 
than  eighty-five;  American,  two  killed  and  fifteen  wounded. 
A  battle  commanded  by  Doniphan  was  fought  on  Christ- 
mas day  at  Brazito,  twenty-five  miles  from  El  Paso.  Mex- 
ican loss  was  seventy-one  killed,  five  prisoners,  and  150 
wounded,  among  them  their  commanding  general,  Ponce 

OUR    WAR    WITH    MEXICO.  ,S'.I 

de  Leon.  The  Americans  had  none  killed  and  eight 
wounded.  On  the  27th  the  city  of  El  Paso  was  taken 
possession  of  without  further  opposition.  On  the  13th  a 
battle  with  the  Indians  occurred.  Americans  lost  none; 
Indians  had  seventeen  killed  and  not  less  than  twenty-five 
wounded.  On  the  19th  of  January,  Governor  Bent  was 
murdered  with  his  retinue.  On  the  24th  Colonel  Rice 
encountered  the  enemy.  Our  loss  was  two  killed  and 
seven  wounded.  The  Mexicans  acknowledged  a  loss  of 
thirty-six  killed  and  forty-five  prisoners.  On  the  3d  of 
February,  met  the  enemy  at  Pueblo  de  Taos.  The  total  loss 
of  the  Mexicans  at  the  three  engagements  was  282  killed — 
wounded  unknown.  Our  total  was  fifteen  killed  and  forty- 
seven  wounded.  On  the  24th,  in  an  engagement  at  Las 
Vegas,  the  enemy  had  twenty-five  killed,  three  wounded; 
our  loss,  one  killed,  three  wounded.  At  Red  River  Canon 
we  were  vigorously  attacked  by  a  large  body  of  Mexicans 
and  Indians;  Americans  lost  one  killed  and  several 
wounded;  Mexicans  and  Indians,  seventeen  killed, 
wounded  not  known.  At  Las  Vegas  Major  Edmondson 
charged  the  town;  there  were  ten  Mexicans  slain  and  fifty 
prisoners  taken.  On  the  9th  of  July  a  detachment  of 
Captain  Morin's  company  was  attacked;  five  of  our  men 
killed  and  nine  wounded.  On  the  26th  of  June  Lieutenant 
Love  was  attacked  and  surrounded  by  Indians;  they  cut 
their  way  through  with  a  loss  of  eleven;  the  Indians  lost 
twenty-five.  On  the  27th  of  October  Captain  Mann's 
train  was  attacked;  American  loss,  one  killed,  four 
wounded;  Indian  loss  not  known. 

doniphan's  expedition. 

On  Sunday,  the  28th  of  February,  a  bright  and  auspi- 
cious day,  the  American  army,  under  Colonel  Doniphan, 
arrived  in  sight  of  the  Mexican  encampment  at  Sacra- 
mento, which  could  be  distinctly  seen  at  the  distance  of 
four  miles.  His  command  consisted  of  the  following  corps 
and  detachments  of  troops: 

The  First  Regiment,  Colonel  Doniphan,  numbering 
about  eight  hundred  men;  Lieutenant-Colonel  Mitchell's 
escort,  ninety-seven  men;  artillery  battalion,  Major  Clark 
and  Captain  Weightman,  117  men,  with  light  field  battery 
of  six  pieces  of  cannon;  and  two  companies  of  teamsters, 
under  Captains  Skillman  and  Glasgow,  forming  an  extra 
battalion  of  about  one  hundred  and  fifty  men,  commanded 
by  Major  Owens  of  Independence,  making  an  aggregate 
force  of  1,164  men,  all  Missouri  volunteers.  The  march 
of  the  day  was  conducted  in  the  following  order:  The 
wagons,  near  four  hundred  in  all,  were  thrown  in  four 
parallel  files,  with  spaces  of  thirty  feet  beween  each.  In 
the  center  space  marched  the  artillery  battalion;  in 
the  space  to  the  right  the  First  Battalion,  and  in  the 
space  to  the  left  the  Second  Battalion.  Masking  these, 
in  front  marched  the  three  companies  intending  to  act 
as  cavalry — the  Missouri  Horse  Guards,  under  Captain 
Reid,  on  the  right;  the  Missouri  Dragoons,  under  Captain 
Parsons,  on  the  left;  and  the  Chihuahua  Rangers,  under 
Captain  Hudson,  in  the  center.  Thus  arranged,  they  ap- 
proached the  scene  of  action. 


doniphan's  expedition.  91 

The  enemy  had  occupied  the  brow  of  a  rocky  eminence 
rising  upon  a  plateau  between  the  river  Sacramento  and 
the  Arroya  Seca,  and  near  the  Sacramento  Fort,  eighteen 
miles  from  Chihuahua,  and  fortified  its  approaches  by  a  line 
of  field-works,  consisting  of  twenty-eight  strong  redoubts 
and  intrenchments.  Here,  in  this  apparently  secure  posi- 
tion, the  Mexicans  had  determined  to  make  a  bold  stand, 
for  the  pass  was  the  key  to  the  capital.  So  certain  of  the 
victory  were  the  Mexicans,  that  they  had  prepared  strings 
and  handcuffs  in  which  they  meant  to  drive  us  prisoners  to 
the  City  of  Mexico,  as  they  did  the  Texans  in  1841.  Thus 
fortified  and  intrenched,  the  Mexican  army,  consisting, 
according  to  a  consolidated  report  of  the  adjutant-general 
which  came  into  Colonel  Doniphan's  possession  after  the 
battle,  of  4,220  men,  commanded  by  Major-General  Jose  A. 
Heredia,  aided  by  Gen.  Garcia  Conde,  former  Minister  of 
War  in  Mexico,  as  commander  of  cavalry;  General  Mau- 
ricia  Ugarte,  commander  of  infantry;  General  Justiniani, 
commander  of  artillery,  and  Gov.  Angel  Trias,  brigadier- 
general,  commanding  the  Chihuahua  Volunteers,  awaited 
the  approach  of  the  Americans. 

When  Colonel  Doniphan  arrived  within  one  mile  and  a 
half  of  the  enemy's  fortifications  (a  reconnaissance  of  his 
position  having  been  made  by  Major  Clark),  leaving  the 
main  road,  which  passed  within  the  range  of  his  batteries, 
he  suddenly  deflected  to  the  right,  crossed  the  rocky  Ar- 
roya, expeditiously  gained  the  plateau  beyond,  successfully 
deployed  his  men  into  line  upon  the  highland,  causing 
the  enemy  to  change  its  first  position,  and  made  the  assault 
from  the  west.  This  was  the  best  point  of  attack  that 
could  possibly  have  been  selected.  The  event  of  the  day 
proves  how  well  it  was  chosen. 

In  passing  the  Arroya  the  caravan  and  baggage  trains 
followed  close  upon  the  rear  of  the  army.     Nothing  could 


exceed  in  point  of  solemnity  and  grandeur  the  rumbling  of 
the  artillery,  the  firm  moving  of  the  caravan,  the  dashing  to 
and  fro  of  horsemen,  and  the  waving  of  banners  and  gay 
fluttering  of  guidons,  as  both  armies  advanced  to  the  attack 
on  the  rocky  plain;  for  at  this  crisis  General  Conde,  with  a 
select  body  of  1,200  cavalry,  rushed  down  from  the  fortified 
heights  to  commence  the  engagement.  When  within  950 
yards  of  our  alignment,  Major  Clark's  battery  of  six-pound- 
ers and  Weightman's  section  of  howitzers  opened  upon 
them  a  well-directed  and  most  destructive  fire,  producing 
fearful  execution  in  their  ranks.  In  some  disorder  they  fell 
back  a  short  distance,  unmasking  a  battery  of  cannon, 
which  immediately  commenced  its  fire  upon  us.  A  brisk 
cannonading  was  now  kept  up  on  both  sides  for  the  space 
of  fifty  minutes,  during  which  time  the  enemy  suffered 
great  loss,  our  battery  discharging  twenty-four  rounds  to 
the  minute.  The  balls  from  the  enemy's  cannon  whistled 
through  our  ranks  in  quick  succession.  Many  horses  and 
other  animals  were  killed  and  the  wagons  much  shattered. 
Sergeant  A.  Hughes  of  the  Missouri  Dragoons  had  both  his 
legs  broken  by  a  cannon  ball.  In  this  action  the  enemy, 
who  were  drawn  up  in  columns  four  deep,  close  order,  lost 
about  twenty-five  killed,  besides  a  great  number  of  horses- 
The  Americans,  who  stood  dismounted  in  two  ranks,  open 
order,  suffered  but  slight  injury. 

General  Conde,  with  considerable  disorder,  now  fell  back 
and  rallied  his  men  behind  the  intrenchments  and  redoubts. 
Colonel  Doniphan  immediately  ordered  the  buglers  to  sound 
the  advance.  Thereupon  the  American  army  moved  for- 
ward in  the  following  manner,  to  storm  the  enemy's  breast- 

The  artillery  battalion,  Major  Clark  in  the  center,  firing 
occasionally  on  the  advance ;  the  First  Battalion,  commanded 
by  Lieutenant-Colonels  Jackson  and  Mitchell,  composing 

doniphan's  expedition.  93 

the  right  wing;  the  two  select  companies  of  cavalry  under 
Captains  Reid  and  Parsons,  and  Captain  Hudson's  mounted 
company,  immediately  on  the  left  of  the  artillery;  and  the 
Second  Battalion  on  the  extreme  left,  commanded  by  Major 
Gilpin.  The  caravan  and  baggage  trains,  under  command 
of  Major  Owens,  followed  close  in  the  rear.  Colonel  Don- 
iphan and  his  aids,  Captain  Thompson,  United  States  Army, 
Adjutant  De  Courcy,  and  Sergeant-Major  Crenshaw  acted 
between  the  battalions. 

At  this  crisis  a  body  of  300  lancers  and  lazadors  were 
discovered  advancing  upon  our  rear.  These  were  ex- 
clusive of  Heredia's  main  force,  and  were  said  to  be 
criminals  turned  loose  from  the  Chihuahua  prisons,  that 
by  some  gallant  exploit  they  might  expurgate  themselves 
of  crime.  To  this  end  they  were  posted  in  the  rear  to  cut 
off  stragglers,  prevent  retreat,  and  capture  and  plunder  the 
merchants'  wagons.  The  battalion  of  teamsters  kept  these 
at  bay.  Besides  this  force  there  were  a  thousand  specta- 
tors— women,  citizens,  and  rancheros — perched  on  the 
summits  of  adjacent  hills  and  mountains,  watching  the 
event  of  the  day. 

As  we  neared  the  enemy's  redoubt?,  still  inclining  to  the 
right,  a  heavy  fire  was  opened  upon  us  from  his  different 
batteries,  consisting  in  all  of  sixteen  pieces  of  cannon.  But 
owing  to  the  facility  with  which  our  movements  were  per- 
formed, and  to  the  fact  that  the  Mexicans  were  compelled 
to  fire  plungingly  upon  our  lines  (their  position  being  con- 
siderably elevated  above  the  plateau,  and  particularly  the 
battery  placed  on  the  brow  of  the  Sacramento  Mountain 
with  the  design  of  enfilading  our  column),  we  sustained 
but  little  damage. 

When  our  column  had  approached  within  about  400 
yards  of  the  enemy's  line  of  field-works,  the  three  calvary 
companies,  under  Captains  Reid,  Parsons,  and  Hudson,  and 


Weightman's  section  of  howitzers,  were  ordered  to  carry 
the  main  center  battery,  which  had  considerably  annoyed 
our  lines,  and  which  was  protected  by  a  strong  bastion. 
The  charge  was  not  made  simultaneously,  as  intended  by 
the  colonel;  for  this  troop  having  spurred  forward  a 
little  way,  was  halted  for  a  moment  under  a  heavy  cross- 
fire from  the  enemy,  by  the  adjutant's  misapprehending 
the  order.  However,  Captain  Reid,  either  not  hearing  or 
disregarding  the  adjutant's  order  to  halt,  leading  the  way, 
waved  his  sword,  and  rising  in  his  stirrups  exclaimed: 
"Will  my  men  follow  me?"  Hereupon  Lieutenants  Bar- 
nett,  Hinton,  and  Moss,  with  about  twenty-five  men,  bravely 
sprang  forward,  rose  the  hill  with  the  captain,  carried  the 
battery,  and  for  a  moment  silenced  the  guns,  but  were  too 
weak  to  hold  possession  of  it.  By  the  overwhelming  force 
of  the  enemy,  we  were  beaten  back,  and  many  of  us 
wounded.  Here  Maj.  Samuel  C.  Owens,  who  had  volun- 
tarily charged  upon  the  redoubt,  received  a  cannon  or  mus- 
ket shot,  which  instantly  killed  both  him  and  his  horse. 
Captain  Reid's  horse  was  shot  under  him,  and  a  gallant 
young  man  of  the  same  name  immediately  dismounted  and 
generously  offered  the  captain  his. 

By  this  time  the  remainder  of  Captain  Reid's  company, 
under  Lieutenant  Hocklin,  and  the  section  of  howitzers 
under  Captain  Weightman  and  Lieutenants  Choteau  and 
Evans,  rose  the  hill,  and  supported  Captain  Reid.  A 
deadly  volley  of  grape  and  canister  shot,  mingled  with 
yager  balls,  quickly  cleared  the  intrenchments  and  redoubt. 
The  battery  was  retaken  and  held.  Almost  at  the  same 
instant  Captains  Parsons  and  Hudson,  with  the  two  remain- 
ing companies  of  cavalry,  crossed  the  intrenchments  to 
Reid's  left  and  successfully  engaged  with  the  enemy. 
They  resolutely  drove  him  back  and  held  the  ground. 

All  the  companies  were  now  pressing  forward,  and  pour- 

doniphan's  expedition.  05 

ing  over  the  intrenchments  and  into  the  redoubts,  eagerly 
vying  with  each  other  in  the  noble  struggle  for  victory. 
Each  company,  as  well  as  each  soldier,  was  ambitious  to 
excel.  Companies  A,  B,  C,  and  a  part  of  Company  D,  com- 
posing the  right  wing,  all  dismounted,  respectively  under 
command  of  Captains  Waldo,  Walton,  Moss,  and  Lieuten- 
ant Miller,  led  on  by  Lieutenant-Colonels  Jackson  and 
Mitchell,  stormed  a  formidable  line  of  redoubts  on  the 
enemy's  left,  defended  by  several  pieces  of  cannon  and  a 
great  number  of  well-armed  and  resolute  men.  A  part  of 
this  wing  took  possession  of  the  strong  battery  on  Sacra- 
mento Hill,  which  had  kept  a  continued  cross-firing  upon 
our  right  during  the  whole  engagement.  Colonels  Jackson 
and  Mitchell  and  their  captains,  lieutenants,  non-commis- 
sioned officers,  and  the  men  generally,  behaved  with  com- 
mendable gallantry.  Many  instances  of  individual  prowess 
were  exhibited.  But  it  is  invidious  to  distinguish  between 
men,  where  all  performed  their  duty  so  nobly. 

Meanwhile  the  left  wing,  also  dismounted,  commanded 
by  Major  Gilpin,  a  gallant  and  skillful  officer,  boldly 
scaled  the  heights,  passed  the  intrenchments,  cleared  the 
redoubts,  and,  with  considerable  slaughter,  forced  the 
enemy  to  retreat  from  its  position  on  the  right.  Company 
G,  under  Captain  Hughes,  and  a  part  of  Company  F,  under 
Lieutenant  Gordon,  stormed  the  battery  of  three  brass 
four-pounders  strongly  defended  by  embankments  and 
ditches  filled  by  resolute  and  well-armed  Mexican  infantry. 
Some  of  the  artillerists  were  made  prisoners  while  endeav- 
oring to  touch  off  the  cannon.  Companies  H  and  E,  under 
Captains  Rodgers  and  Stephenson,  and  a  part  of  Hudson's 
company,  under  Lieutenant  Todd,  on  the  extreme  left, 
behaved  nobly,  and  fought  with  great  courage.  They  beat 
the  Mexicans  from  their  strong  places,  and  chased  them 


like  bloodhounds.  Major  Gilpin  was  not  behind  his  men 
in  bravery — he  encouraged  them  to  fight  by  example. 

Major  Clark,  with  his  six-pounders,  and  Captain  Weight- 
man,  with  his  howitzers,  during  the  whole  action  rendered 
the  most  signal  and  essential  service,  and  contributed  much 
toward  the  success  of  the  day.  The  gallant  charge  led  by 
Captain  Reid,  and  sustained  by  Captain  Weightman,  in 
point  of  daring  and  brilliancy  of  execution,  has  not  been 
excelled  by  any  similar  exploit  during  the  war. 

General  Heredia  made  several  unsuccessful  attempts  to 
rally  his  retreating  forces,  to  infuse  into  their  minds  new 
courage,  and  to  close  up  the  breaches  already  made  in  his 
lines.  General  Conde,  with  his  troop  of  horse,  also  vainly 
endeavored  to  check  the  advance  of  the  Missourians. 
They  were  dislodged  from  their  strong  places,  and  forced 
from  the  hill  in  confusion. 

The  rout  of  the  Mexican  army  now  became  general, 
and  the  slaughter  continued  until  night  put  an  end  to  the 
chase.  The  battle  lasted  three  hours  and  a  half.  The 
men  returned  to  the  battle-field  after  dark,  completely 
worn  out  and  exhausted  with  fatigue.  The  Mexicans  lost 
304  men  killed  on  the  field,  and  a  large  number  wounded, 
perhaps  not  less  than  five  hundred,  and  seventy  prisoners, 
among  whom  was  Brigadier-General  Cuilta,  together  with 
a  vast  quantity  of  provisions,  $6,000  in  specie,  50,000  head 
of  sheep,  1,500  head  of  cattle,  100  mules,  twenty  wagons, 
twenty-five  or  thirty  caretas,  25,000  pounds  of  ammunition, 
ten  pieces  of  cannon  of  different  caliber,  varying  from  four 
to  nine  pounders;  six  culverins,  or  wall  pieces;  100  stand 
of  small  colors,  seven  fine  carriages,  the  general's  escritoire, 
and  many  other  things  of  less  note.  Our  loss  was  Major 
Samuel  C.  Owens,  killed,  and  eleven  wounded,  three  of 
whom  have  subsequently  died. 

Thus  was  the  army  of  Central  Mexico  totally  defeated, 

doniphan's  expedition.  07 

and  completely  disorganized,  by  a  column  of  Missouri  vol- 
unteers. The  Mexicans  retreated  precipitately  to  Durango, 
and  dispersed  among  the  ranchos  and  villages.  Their 
leaders  were  never  able  to  rally  them. 

In  this  engagement  Colonel  Doniphan  was  personally 
much  exposed,  and  by  reason  of  his  stature  was  a  conspic- 
uous mark  for  the  fire  of  the  enemy's  guns.  He  was  all 
the  while  at  the  proper  place,  whether  to  dispense  his 
orders,  encourage  his  men,  or  use  his  saber  in  thinning  the 
enemy's  ranks.  His  courage  and  gallant  conduct  were 
only  equaled  by  his  clear  foresight  and  great  judgment. 
His  effective  force  actually  engaged  was  about  nine  hun- 
dred and  fifty  men,  including  a  considerable  number  of 
amateur  fighters,  among  whom  James  L.  Collins,  James 
Kirker,  Messrs.  Henderson  and  Anderson,  interpreters, 
Major  Campbell,  and  James  Stewart,  deserve  to  be  favor- 
ably mentioned.  They  fought  bravely.  It  was  impossible 
for  Captains  Skillman  and  Glasgow  to  bring  their  compa- 
nies of  teamsters  into  the  action.  They  deserve  great 
honor  for  their  gallantry  in  defending  the  trains.  The  sol- 
diers encamped  on  the  battle-field,  within  the  enemy's 
entrenchments,  and  feasted  sumptuously  upon  his  viands, 
wines,  and  pound-cake. 

1  here  they  rested. 

Colonel  Doniphan,  not  like  Hannibal  loitering  on  the 
plains  of  Italy  after  the  battle  of  Cannae  when  he  might 
have  entered  Rome  in  triumph,  immediately  followed  up 
his  success  and  improved  the  advantage  which  his  victory 
gave  him.  Early  the  next  morning  (March  ist)  he  dis- 
patched Lieutenant-Colonel  Mitchell,  with  150  men  under 
command  of  Captains  Reid  and  Weightman,  and  a  section 
of  artillery,  to  take  formal  possession  of  the  capital,  and 
occupy  it  in  the  name  of  his  Government.  This  detach- 
ment, before  arriving  in  the  city,  was  met  by  several  Ameri- 


can  gentle  me  11  escaping  from  confinement,  who  represented 
that  the  Mexicans  had  left  the  place  undefended,  and  fled 
with  the  utmost  precipitation  to  Durango.  The  Spanish 
consul,  also,  came  out  with  the  flag  of  his  country  to  salute 
and  acknowledge  the  conqueror.  This  small  body  of 
troops  entered  and  took  military  possession  of  Chihuahua 
without  the  slightest  resistance,  and  the  following  night 
occupied  the  Cuartel,  near  Hidalgo's  monument,  which 
stands  on  the  Alameda. 

Meanwhile  Colonel  Doniphan  and  his  men  collected  the 
booty,  tended  the  captured  animals,  refitted  the  trains, 
remounted  those  who  had  lost  their  steeds  in  the  action, 
arranged  the  preliminaries  of  the  procession,  and  having 
marched  a  few  miles  encamped  for  the  night.  On  the 
morning  of  March  2d  Colonel  Doniphan,  with  all  his  mili- 
tary trains,  the  merchant  caravan,  gay  fluttering  colors,  and 
the  whole  spolia  opima,  triumphantly  entered  the  city  to  the 
tunes  of  "Yankee  Doodle"  and  "Hail  Columbia," and  fired 
in  the  public  square  a  national  salute  of  twenty-eight  guns. 
This  was  a  proud  moment  for  the  American  troops.  The 
battle  of  Sacramento  gave  them  the  capital,  and  now  the 
stars  and  stripes  and  serpent  eagle  of  the  model  republic 
were  streaming  victoriously  over  the  stronghold  of  Central 



It  is  thirteen  years  since  Edward  Creighton,  the  pioneer 
of  frontier  telegraphy,  died,  and  that  he  is  so  well  and  hon- 
orably remembered  in  the  Omaha  of  to-day — aye,  his  mem- 
ory respected  by  the  thousands  who  have  gone  there  since 
he  was  no  more — but  illustrates  how  great  was  his  service 
to  the  community,  how  broad  and  enduring  a  mark  he  made 
upon  his  time.  No  man  did  so  much  to  sustain  Omaha  in 
its  early  and  trying  clays  as  Edward  Creighton.  His  career 
was  a  notable  one  in  its  humble  beginning  and  splendid 
triumph  in  the  flush  of  manhood.  He  was  born  in  Belmont 
County,  Ohio,  August  31,  1820,  of  Irish  parentage.  His 
early  days  were  passed  upon  a  farm,  but  at  the  age  of 
twenty  he  took  the  contract  for  building  part  of  the 
national  stage  road  from  Wheeling,  W.  Va.,  to  Springfield, 
Ohio.  He  continued  in  the  contracting  business,  but  it 
was  not  until  1847  that  he  entered  upon  that  branch  of  it 
in  which  he  achieved  his  greatest  success  and  laid  the  foun- 
dation of  his  after  fortunes.  In  that  year  he  received  the 
contract  for  and  constructed  a  telegraph  line  between 
Springfield  and  Cincinnati.  To  this  business  he  devoted 
his  time  and  energies  for  five  years,  being  successfully 
engaged  in  the  construction  of  telegraph  lines  in  all  parts 
of  the  country,  completing  the  line  from  Cleveland  to  Chi- 
cago in  1S52.  In  1856,  while  engaged  in  telegraph  con- 
struction in  Missouri,  Mr.  Creighton  visited  Omaha,  and 
his  brothers,  John  A.,  James,  and  Joseph,  and  his  cousin 
James,  locating  there,  he  returned  to  Ohio,  where  he  wedded 



Mary  Lucretia  Wareham  of  Dayton,  and  in  1857  he  also 
went  to  Omaha  and  located.  He  continued  in  the  tele- 
graph construction  business,  completing,  in  i860,  the  first 
line  which  gave  Omaha  connection  with  the  outer  world 
via  St.  Louis. 

For  years  Mr.  Creighton  entertained  a  pet  project — the 
building  of  a  line  to  the  Pacific  Coast — and  in  the  winter 
of  i860,  after  many  conferences  with  the  wealthy  stock- 
holders of  the  Western  Union  Company,  a  preliminary  sur- 
vey was  agreed  upon.  In  those  days  the  stage-coach  was 
the  only  means  of  overland  travel,  and  that  was  beset  with 
great  danger  from  Indians  and  road  agents.  In  the  stage- 
coach Mr.  Creighton  made  his  way  to  Salt  Lake  City, 
where  he  enlisted  the  interest  and  support  of  Brigham 
Young,  the  great  head  of  the  Mormon  church,  in  his  proj- 
ect. It  had  been  arranged  to  associate  the  California 
State  Telegraph  Company  in  the  enterprise,  and  on  to  Sac- 
ramento, in  midwinter,  Mr.  Creighton  pressed  on  horse- 
back. It  was  a  terrible  journey,  but  the  man  who  made  it 
was  of  stout  heart,  and  he  braved  the  rigors  of  the  mount- 
ains and  accomplished  his  mission,  and  in  the  spring  of 
1861  he  returned  to  Omaha  to  begin  his  great  work.  Con- 
gress, meanwhile,  had  granted  a  subsidy  of  $40,000  a  year 
for  ten  years  to  the  company  which  should  build  the  line. 
Then  a  great  race  was  inaugurated,  for  heavy  wagers, 
between  Mr.  Creighton's  construction  force  and  the  Cali- 
fornia contractors  who  were  building  eastward,  to  see 
which  should  reach  Salt  Lake  City  first.  Mr.  Creighton 
had  1,100  miles  to  construct  and  the  Californians  only  450, 
but  he  reached  Salt  Lake  City  on  the  17th  of  October,  one 
week  ahead  of  his  competitors. 

On  October  24th,  but  little  more  than  six  months  after 
the  enterprise  was  begun,  Mr.  Creighton  had  established 
telegraphic  communication  from  ocean  to  ocean.     He  had 


taken  $100,000  worth  of  the  stock  of  the  new  enterprise  at 
about  eighteen  cents  on  the  dollar,  and  when  the  project 
was  completed  the  company  trebled  its  stock,  Mr.  Creigh- 
ton's  $100,000  becoming  $300,000.  The  stock  rose  to  85 
cents,  and  he  sold  out  $100,000  worth  for  $850,000,  still 
retaining  $200,000  of  the  stock.  He  continued  in  the 
telegraphic  construction  business  until  1867,  when  his  great 
cattle  interests,  in  which  he  had  embarked  in  1864,  and  his 
great  plains  freighting  business,  established  before  the 
building  of  the  Union  Pacific  and  continued  even  after 
its  completion,  to  the  mining  regions  of  Montana  and 
Idaho,  exacted  his  attention.  During  all  these  years  of 
great  business  success,  Mr.  Creighton  was  firm  in  his  allegi- 
ance to  Omaha.  He  was  the  first  president  of  the  first 
national  bank  in  the  city,  and  was  ever  ready  to  aid,  by  his 
means,  and  counsel,  and  enterprise,  the  furthering  of 
Omaha's  interests.  He  commanded  the  confidence  of  all 
the  people,  his  sterling  integrity  and  unwavering  fidelity 
combining  with  his  generous  and  charitable  nature  to  make 
him  a  very  lovable  man.  No  man  has  an  unkind  word  to 
say  of  Edward  Creighton,  and  his  memory  is  revered  to 
this  day  as  an  upright,  just,  and  kind  man,  who,  out  of  his 
own  sterling  qualities,  had  wrought  a  successful  and  hon- 
orable career.  He  was  stricken  with  paralysis  and  died 
November  5,  1874.  To  his  memory  Creighton  College  was 
erected  and  endowed  by  his  widow,  in  response  to  his  own 
wish,  expressed  during  his  lifetime,  to  found  a  free  institu- 
tion for  the  non-sectarian  education  of  youth — the  insti- 
tution to  be  under  Catholic  control 



The  organization  of  a  full-fledged  train  for  crossing  the 
plains  consisted  of  from  twenty-five  to  twenty-six  large 
wagons  that  would  carry  from  three  to  three  and  a  half 
tons  each,  the  merchandise  or  contents  of  each  wagon  being 
protected  by  three  sheets  of  thin  ducking,  such  as  is  used 
for  army  tents.  The  number  of  cattle  necessary  to  draw 
each  wagon  was  twelve,  making  six  yokes  or  pairs,  and  a 
prudent  freighter  would  always  have  from  twenty  to  thirty 
head  of  extra  oxen,  in  case  of  accident  to  or  lameness  of 
some  of  the  animals.  In  camping  or  stopping  to  allow  the 
cattle  to  graze,  a  corral  or  pen  of  oblong  shape  is  formed 
by  the  wagons,  the  tongues  being  turned  out,  and  a  log 
chain  extended  from  the  hind  wheel  of  each  wagon  to  the 
fore  wheel  of  the  next  behind,  etc.,  thus  making  a  solid 
pen  except  for  a  wide  gap  at  each  end,  through  which  gaps 
the  cattle  are  driven  when  they  are  to  be  yoked  and  made 
ready  for  travel,  the  gaps  then  being  filled  by  the  wagon- 
master,  his  assistant,  and  the  extra  men,  to  prevent  the 
cattle  from  getting  out.  When  the  cattle  are  driven  into 
this  corral  or  pen,  each  driver  yokes  his  oxen,  drives  them 
out  to  his  wagon,  and  gets  ready  to  start.  The  entire  train 
of  cattle,  including  extras,  generally  numbered  from  320  to 
330  head  and  usually  from  four  to  five  mules  for  riding  and 
herding.  The  force  of  men  for  each  train  consisted  of  a 
wagonmaster,  his  assistant,  the  teamsters,  a  man  to  look 
after  the  extra  cattle,  and  two  or  three  extra  men  as  a 
reserve  to  take  the  places  of  any  men  who  might  be  dis- 

( 108 ) 


abled  or  sick,  the  latter  case  being  a  rare  exception,  for  as 
a  rule  there  was  no  sickness.  I  think  perhaps  there  was 
never  a  set  of  laboring  men  in  the  world  who  enjoyed  more 
uninterrupted  good. health  than  the  teamsters  upon  the 
plains.  They  walked  by  the  side  of  their  teams,  as  it  was 
impossible  for  them  to  ride  and  keep  them  moving  with 
regularity.  The  average  distance  traveled  with  loaded 
wagons  was  from  twelve  to  fifteen  miles  per  day,  although 
in  some  instances,  when  roads  were  fine  and  there  was  a 
necessity  for  rapid  movement,  I  have  known  them  to  travel 
twenty  miles.  But  this  was  faster  traveling  than  they  could 
keep  up  for  any  length  of  time.  Returning  with  empty 
wagons  they  could  average  twenty  miles  a  day  without 
injury  to  the  animals. 

Oxen  proved  to  be  the  cheapest  and  most  reliable  teams 
for  long  trips,  where  they  had  to  live  upon  the  grass.  This 
was  invariably  the  case.  They  did  good  daily  work, 
gathered  their  own  living,  and  if  properly  driven  would 
travel  2,000  miles  in  a  season,  or  during  the  months  from 
April  to  November;  traveling  from  1,000  to  1,200  miles 
with  the  loaded  wagons,  and  with  plenty  of  good  grass  and 
water,  would  make  the  return  trip  with  the  empty  wagons 
in  the  same  season.  However,  the  distance  traveled 
depended  much  upon  the  skill  of  the  wagonmasters  who 
had  them  in  charge.  For  if  the  master  was  not  skilled  in 
handling  the  animals  and  men,  they  could  not  make  any- 
thing like  good  headway  and  success.  To  make  every- 
thing work  expeditiously,  thorough  discipline  was  required, 
each  man  performing  his  duty  and  being  in  the  place 
assigned  him  without  confusion  or  delay.  I  remember 
once  of  timing  my  teamsters  when  they  commenced  to 
yoke  their  teams  after  the  cattle  had  been  driven  into  their 
corral  and  allowed  to  stand  long  enough  to  become  quiet. 
I  gave  the  word  to  the  men  to  commence  yoking,  and  held 


my  watch  in  my  hand  while  they  did  so,  and  in  sixteen 
minutes  from  the  time  they  commenced,  each  man  had 
yoked  six  pairs  of  oxen  and  had  them  hitched  to  their 
wagons  ready  to  move.  I  state  this  that  the  reader  may 
see  how  quickly  the  men  who  are  thoroughly  disciplined 
could  be  ready  to  "  pop  the  whip  "  and  move  out,  when 
unskilled  men  were  often  more  than  an  hour  doing  the  same 
work.  The  discipline  and  rules  by  which  my  trains  were 
governed  were  perfect,  and  as  quick  as  the  men  learned 
each  one  his  place  and  duty,  it  became  a  very  pleasant  and 
easy  thing  for  him  to  do.  Good  moral  conduct  was 
required  of  them,  and  no  offense  from  man  to  man  was 
allowed,  thus  keeping  them  good-natured  and  working 
together  harmoniously.  They  were  formed  into  what  they 
called  "messes,"  there  being  from  six  to  eight  men  in  a 
mess,  each  mess  selecting  the  man  best  fitted  to  serve  as 
cook,  and  the  others  carrying  the  water,  fuel,  and  standing 
guard,  so  that  the  cook's  sole  business  when  in  camp  was 
to  get  his  utensils  ready  and  cook  the  meals. 

We  never  left  the  cattle  day  or  night  without  a  guard  of 
two  men,  the  teamsters  taking  turns,  and  arranging  it  so 
that  each  man  was  on  guard  two  hours  out  of  the  twenty- 
four,  and  sometimes  they  were  only  obliged  to  go  on  guard 
two  hours  every  other  night.  This  matter  they  arranged 
among  themselves  and  with  the  wagonmaster.  The  duty 
of  the  wagonmaster  was  about  the  same  as  that  of  a  cap- 
tain of  a  steamboat  or  ship,  his  commands  being  implicitly 
obeyed,  for  in  the  early  stages  of  travel  upon  the  plains 
the  men  were  at  all  times  liable  to  be  attacked  by  the 
Indians;  therefore  the  necessity  for-  a  perfect  harmony 
of  action  throughout  the  entire  band.  The  assistant 
wagonmaster's  duty  was  to  carry  out  the  wagonmaster's 
instructions,  and  he  would  often  be  at  one  end  of  the 
train  while  the  master  was  at  the  other,  as  the  train  was 


moving.  It  was  arranged,  when  possible,  that  no  two 
trains  should  ever  camp  together,  as  there  was  not  grass 
and  water  sufficient  for  the  animals  of  both,  and  thus  all 
confusion  was  avoided. 

The  average  salary  paid  the  men  was  $i  a  day  and  ex- 
penses. Most  of  the  traveling  in  the  early  days  of  freight- 
ing was  done  upon  what  was  called  the  Santa  Fe  road, 
starting  from  Independence,  Mo.,  and  unloading  at  Santa 
¥6,  N.  M.  The  rattlesnakes  on  that  road,  in  the  beginning 
of  the  travel,  were  a  great  annoyance,  often  biting  the 
mules  and  oxen  when  they  were  grazing.  At  first,  mules 
were  used  altogether  for  traveling,  but  they  would  either 
die  or  become  useless  from  the  bite  of  a  rattlesnake,  and 
the  men  would  sometimes  be  sent  ahead  of  the  caravan 
with  whips  to  frighten  the  snakes  out  of  the  pathway,  but 
later  on,  the  ox-teamsters,  with  their  large  whips,  de- 
stroyed them  so  fast  that  they  ceased  to  trouble  them  to  any 
great  extent.  It  has  been  claimed  by  men  that  the  snakes 
and  prairie-dogs,  who  were  also  found  in  great  numbers 
upon  the  plains,  lived  in  the  same  houses,  the  dog  digging 
the  hole  and  allowing  the  snake  to  inhabit  it  with  him;  but 
I  do  not  think  this  is  correct.  Men  came  to  this  conclu- 
sion from  seeing  the  snakes  when  frightened  run  into 
the  dog-holes,  but  I  think  they  did  it  to  get  out  of  the  way 
of  danger,  and  they  lived,  too,  in  the  houses  that  had  been 
abandoned  by  the  dogs.  It  is  a  fact  that  the  prairie  dogs 
would  only  live  in  one  hole  for  about  a  year,  when  they 
would  abandon  it  and  dig  a  new  one,  leaving  the  old  ones 
to  be  taken  possession  of  by  the  rattlesnakes  and  prairie 
owls.  As  far  as  I  have  been  able  to  find  out,  there  is  no 
creature  on  earth  that  will  live  with  a  rattlesnake.  They 
are  hated  and  feared  by  all  living  animals. 

The  following  are  the  names  of  the  men  who  were  em- 
ployed on  our  trains,  in  one  capacity  and  another,  and  a 
number  of  them  are  still  alive: 



Dr.  J.  Hobbs, 
Jim  Lobb, 
Alex  Lobb, 
Aquila  Lobb, 
Joel  Dunn, 
Mitchell  Wilson, 
Hank  Bassett, 
George  W.  Marion 
N.  H.  Fitzwater, 
George  Bryant, 
Tom  A.  Brawley, 
Peter  Bean, 
James  L.  Davis, 
William  Hickman, 
A.  W.  Street, 
Joel  Hedgespeth, 
Charles  Byers, 
Nathan  Simpson, 
R.  D.  Simpson, 
Ben  Tunley, 
Hiram  Cummings, 
John  Ewing, 
Rev.  Ben  Baxter, 
A.  and  P.  Byram, 
Frank  McKinney, 
John  T.  Renick, 
John  D.  Clayton, 
William  Wier, 
Frank  Hoberg, 
Gillis  of  Pennsylvania, 
David  Street, 
Joel  Lyal, 
Albert  Bangs, 
Elijah  Majors, 

Aquila  Davis, 
Samuel  Poteete, 
William  Hayes, 
George  A.  Baker, 
James  Brown, 
William  Dodd, 
Mr.  Badger, 
Green  Davis, 
John  Scudder, 
Jackson  Cooper, 
Samuel  Foster, 
Robert  Foster, 
Chat.  Renick, 
John  Renick, 
Mr.  Levisy, 
Dick  Lipscomb, 
James  Aiken, 
Johnson  Aiken, 
Stephen  De  Wolfe, 
Linville  Hayes, 
Sam  McKinny, 
Ben  Rice, 
Ferd  Smith, 
Henry  Carlisle, 
Alexander  Carlisle, 
Robert  Ford, 
Joseph  Erwin, 
Daniel  D.  White, 
Johnny  Fry, 
Alexander  Benham, 
Luke  Benham, 
Benjamin  Ficklin, 
John  Kerr. 



Kit  Carson,  as  he  was  familiarly  known  and  called,  was 
born  in  Madison  County,  Ky.,  on  the  24th  of  December, 

During  the  early  days  of  Carson's  childhood  his  father 
moved  from  Kentucky  to  Missouri,  which  State  was  then 
called  Upper  Louisiana,  where  Kit  Carson  passed  a  number 
of  years,  early  becoming  accustomed  to  the  stirring  dangers 
with  which  his  whole  life  was  so  familiar. 

At  the  age  of  fifteen  years  he  was  apprenticed  to  a  Mr. 
Workman,  a  saddler.  At  the  end  of  two  years,  when  his 
apprenticeship  was  ended,  young  Carson  voluntarily  aban- 
doned the  further  pursuit  of  a  trade  which  had  no  attrac- 
tions for  him,  and  from  that  time  on  pursued  the  life  of  a 
trapper,  hunter,  and  Indian  fighter,  distinguishing  himself 
in  many  ways  and  rendering  invaluable  service  to  the  Gov- 
ernment of  the  United  States,  in  whose  employ  he  spent  a 
large  part  of  his  life,  in  which  service  he  had  risen  to  the 
rank  of  colonel  and  was  breveted  brigadier-general  before 
his  death,  which  occurred  at  Fort  Lyon,  Colo.,  on  the 
23d  of  May,  1868,  from  the  effects  of  the  rupture  of  an 
artery,  or  probably  an  aneurism  of  an  artery  in  the  neck. 

Carson  as  a  trapper,  hunter,  and  guide  had  no  superior, 
and  as  a  soldier  was  the  peer  of  any  man. 

The  following  from  the  life  of  Kit  Carson  will  be  found 
most  interesting  reading  regarding  this  great  scout: 

"  With  fresh  animals  and  men  well  fed  and  rested,  McCoy 
and  Carson  and  all  their  party  soon  started  from  Fort  Hall 



for  the  rendezvous  again,  upon  Green  River,  where  they  were 
detained  some  weeks  for  the  arrival  of  other  parties,  enjoy- 
ing as  they  best  might  the  occasion,  and  preparing  for 
future  operations. 

"  A  party  of  a  hundred  was  here  organized,  with  Mr. 
Fontenelle  and  Carson  for  their  leaders,  to  trap  upon  the 
Yellowstone  and  the  headwaters  of  the  Missouri.  It  was 
known  that  they  would  probably  meet  the  Blackfeet,  in 
whose  grounds  they  were  going,  and  it  was  therefore 
arranged,  that  while  fifty  were  to  trap  and  furnish  the  food 
for  the  party,  the  remainder  should  be  assigned  to  guard 
the  camp  and  cook.  There  was  no  disinclination  on  the 
part  of  any  to  another  meeting  with  the  Blackfeet,  so  often 
had  they  troubled  them,  especially  Carson,  who,  while  he 
could  be  magnanimous  toward  an  enemy,  would  not  turn 
aside  from  his  course  if  able  to  cope  with  him;  and  now 
that  he  was  in  a  company  which  justly  felt  itself  strong 
enough  to  punish  the  '  thieving  Blackfeet,'  as  they  spoke 
of  them,  he  was  anxious  to  pay  off  some  old  scores. 

"  They  saw  nothing,  however,  of  these  Indians;  but  after- 
ward learned  that  the  smallpox  had  raged  terribly  among 
them,  and  that  they  had  kept  themselves  retired  in  mount- 
ain valleys,  oppressed  with  fear  and  severe  disease. 

"The  winter's  encampment  was  made  in  this  region,  and 
a  party  of  Crow  Indians  which  was  with  them  camped  at  a 
little  distance  on  the  same  stream.  Here  they  secured  an 
abundance  of  meat,  and  passed  the  severe  weather  with  a 
variety  of  amusements,  in  which  the  Indians  joined  them  in 
their  lodges,  made  of  buffalo  hides.  These  lodges,  very 
good  substitutes  for  houses,  were  made  in  the  form  of  a 
cone,  spread  by  means  of  poles  spreading  from  a  common 
center,  where  there  was  a  hole  at  the  top  for  the  passage 
of  smoke.  These  were  often  twenty  feet  in  height  and  as 
many  feet   in   diameter,  where   they  were  pinned   to  the 

KIT    CARSON.  1<)9 

ground  with  stakes.  In  a  large  village  the  Indians  often 
had  one  lodge  large  enough  to  hold  fifty  persons,  and 
within  were  performed  their  war  dances  around  a  fire  made 
in  the  center.  During  the  palmy  days  of  the  British  Fur 
Company,  in  a  lodge  like  this,  only  made  instead  of  birch 
bark,  Irving  says  the  Indians  of  the  North  held  their '  prim- 
itive fairs  '  outside  the  city  of  Montreal,  where  they  dis- 
posed of  their  furs. 

"There  was  one  drawback  upon  conviviality  for  this 
party,  in  the  extreme  difficulty  of  getting  food  for  their 
animals;  for  the  food  and  fuel  so  abundant  for  themselves 
did  not  suffice  for  their  horses.  Snow  covered  the  ground, 
and  the  trappers  were  obliged  to  gather  willow  twigs,  and 
strip  the  bark  from  Cottonwood  trees,  in  order  to  keep 
them  alive.  The  inner  bark  of  the  Cottonwood  is  eaten  by 
the  Indians  when  reduced  to  extreme  want.  Besides,  the 
cold  brought  the  buffalo  down  upon  them  in  great  herds,  to 
share  the  nourishment  they  had  provided  for  their  horses. 

'.'  Spring  at  length  opened,  and  gladly  they  again  com- 
menced trapping;  first  on  the  Yellowstone  and  soon  on  the 
headwaters  of  the  Missouri,  where  they  learned  that  the 
Blackfeet  were  recovered  from  the  sickness  of  last  year, 
which  had  not  been  so  severe  as  it  was  reported,  and  that 
they  were  still  anxious  and  in  condition  for  a  fight,  and 
were  encamped  not  far  from  their  present  trapping 

"  Carson  and  five  men  went  forward  in  advance  '  to  recon- 
noiter,'  and  found  the  village  preparing  to  remove,  having 
learned  of  the  presence  of  the  trappers.  Hurrying  back, 
a  party  of  forty-three  was  selected  from  the  whole,  and 
they  unanimously  selected  Carson  to  lead  them,  and  leav- 
ing the  rest  to  move  on  with  the  baggage,  and  aid  them  if 
it  should  be  necessary  when  they  should  come  up  with  the 
Indians,  they  started  forward  eager  for  a  battle. 

110  vENTY    YEARS   ON    THE    FRONTIER. 

"Carson  and  his  command  were  not  long  in  overtaking 

the  Indians;  and  dashing  among  them,  at  the  first  fire 
killed  ten  of  their  braves;  but  the  Indians  rallied  and 
retreated  in  good  order.  The  white  men  were  in  good 
spirits,  and  followed  up  their  first  attack  with  deadly  results 
for  three  full  hours,  the  Indians  making  scarce  any  resist- 
ance. Now  their  firing  became  less  animated,  as  their 
ammunition  was  getting  low,  and  they  had  to  use  it  with 
extreme  caution.  The  Indians,  suspecting  this  from  the 
slackness  of  their  fire,  rallied,  and  with  a  tremendous  whoop 
turned  upon  their  enemies. 

"  Now  Carson  and  his  company  could  use  their  small 
arms,  which  produced  a  terrible  effect,  and  which  enabled 
them  to  again  drive  back  the  Indians.  They  rallied  yet 
again,  and  charged  with  so  much  power  and  in  such 
numbers,  they  forced  the  trappers  to  retreat. 

"During  this  engagement  the  horse  of  one  of  the  mount- 
aineers was  killed,  and  fell  with  his  whole  weight  upon  his 
rider.  Carson  saw  the  condition  of  the  man,  with  six 
warriors  rushing  to  take  his  scalp,  and  reached  the  spot  in 
time  to  save  his  friend.  Leaping  from  the  saddle  he  placed 
himself  before  his  fallen  companion,  shouting  at  the  same 
time  for  his  men  to  rally  around  him,  and  with  deadly  aim 
from  his  rifle,  shot  down  the  foremost  warrior. 

"The  trappers  now  rallied  around  Carson  and  the  remain- 
ing five  warriors  retired,  without  the  scalp  of  their  fallen 
foe.  Only  two  of  them  reached  a  place  of  safety,  for  the 
well-aimed  fire  of  the  trappers  leveled  them  with  the  earth. 

"  Carson's  horse  was  loose,  and  as  his  comrade  was  safe, 
he  mounted  behind  one  of  his  men  and  rode  back  to  the 
ranks,  while  by  general  impulse  the  firing  on  both  sides 
ceased.  His  horse  was  captured  and  restored  to  him,  but 
each  party,  now  thoroughly  exhausted,  seemed  to  wait  for 
the  other  to  renew  the  attack. 

KIT    CARSON.  I  I  1 

"  While  resting  in  this  attitude,  the  other  division  of  the 
trappers  came  in  sight,  but  the  Indians,  showing  no  fear, 
posted  themselves  among  the  rocks  at  some  distance  from 
the  scene  of  the  last  skirmish,  and  coolly  waited  for  their 
adversaries.  Exhausted  ammunition  had  been  the  cause  of 
the  retreat  of  Carson  and  his  force,  but  now,  with  a  renewed 
supply,  and  an  addition  of  fresh  men  to  the  force,  they 
advanced  on  foot  to  drive  the  Indians  from  their  hiding 
places.  The  contest  was  desperate  and  severe, but  powder 
and  ball  eventually  conquered,  and  the  Indians,  once  dis- 
lodged, scattered  in  every  direction.  The  trappers  consid- 
ered this  a  complete  victory  over  the  Blackfeet,  for  a  large 
number  of  their  warriors  were  killed,  and  many  more  were 
wounded,  while  they  had  but  three  men  killed  and  a  few 
severely  wounded. 

"  Fontenelle  and  his  party  now  camped  at  the  scene  of 
the  engagement,  to  recruit  their  men  and  here  bury  their 
dead.  Afterward  they  trapped  through  the  whole  Black- 
feet  country,  and  with  great  success,  going  where  they 
pleased  without  fear  or  molestation.  The  Indians  kept  off 
their  route,  evidently  having  acquaintance  with  Carson  and 
his  company  enough  to  last  them  their  lifetime. 

"  With  the  smallpox  and  the  white  man's  rifles  the  war- 
riors were  much  reduced,  and  the  tribe,  which  had  formerly 
numbered  30,000,  was  already  decimated,  and  a  few  more 
blows  like  the  one  dealt  by  this  dauntless  band  would  suffice 
to  break  its  spirit  and  destroy  its  power  for  future  and  evil. 

"  During  the  battle  with  the  trappers  the  women  and 
children  of  the  Blackfeet  village  were  sent  on  in  advance, 
and  when  the  engagement  was  over  and  the  braves  returned 
to  them  so  much  reduced  in  numbers,  and  without  a  single 
scalp,  the  big  lodge  that  had  been  erected  for  the  war  dance 
was  given  up  for  the  wounded,  and  in  hundreds  of  Indian 
hearts  grew  a  bitter  hatred  for  the  white  man. 


"  Am  express,  dispatched  for  the  purpose,  announced  the 
place  of  the  rendezvous  to  Fontenelle  and  Carson,  who 
were  now  on  Green  River,  and  with  their  whole  party  and 
a  large  stock  of  furs,  they  at  once  set  out  for  the  place  upon 
Mud  River,  to  find  the  sales  commenced  before  their  arrival, 
so  that  in  twenty  days  they  were  ready  to  break  up  camp. 

"  Carson  now  organized  a  party  of  seven  and  proceeded 
to  a  trading  post  called  Brown's  Hole,  where  he  joined  a 
company  of  traders  to  go  to  the  Navajo  Indians.  He 
found  this  tribe  more  assimilated  to  the  white  man  than 
any  Indians  he  had  yet  seen,  having  many  fine  horses 
and  large  flocks  of  sheep  and  cattle.  They  also  possessed 
the  art  of  weaving,  and  their  blankets  were  in  great  demand 
through  Mexico,  bringing  high  prices  on  account  of  their 
great  beauty,  being  woven  in  flowers  with  much  taste. 
They  were  evidently  a  remnant  of  the  Aztec  race. 

"  They  traded  here  for  a  large  drove  of  fine  mules,  which, 
taken  to  the  fort  on  the  South  Platte,  realized  good  prices, 
when  Carson  went  again  to  Brown's  Hole,  a  narrow  but 
pretty  valley,  about  sixteen  miles  long,  upon  the  Colorado 

"  After  many  offers  for  his  services  from  other  parties, 
Carson  at  length  engaged  himself  for  the  winter  to  hunt 
for  the  men  at  this  fort,  and,  as  the  game  was  abundant  in 
this  beautiful  valley,  and  in  the  canon  country  farther 
down  the  Colorado,  in  its  deer,  elk,  and  antelope  remind- 
ing him  of  his  hunts  upon  the  Sacramento,  the  task  was  a 
delightful  one  to  him. 

"  In  the  spring  Carson  trapped  with  Bridger  and  Owens, 
with  passable  success,  and  went  to  the  rendezvous  upon 
"Wind  River,  at  the  head  of  the  Yellowstone,  and  from 
thence,  with  a  large  party  of  the  trappers  at  the  rendezvous, 
to  the  Yellowstone,  where  they  camped  in  the  vicinity  for 
the  winter  without  seeing  their  old  enemy,  the  Blackfeet 

KIT    CARSON.  113 

Indians,  until  midwinter,  when  they  discovered  they  were 
near  their  stronghold. 

"A  party  of  forty  was  selected  to  give  them  battle,  with 
Carson,  of  course,  for  their  captain.  They  found  the 
Indians  already  in  the  field  to  the  number  of  several  hun- 
dred, who  made  a  brave  resistance  until  night  and  darkness 
admonished  both  parties  to  retire.  In  the  morning,  when 
Carson  and  his  men  went  to  the  spot  whither  the  Indians 
had  retired,  they  were  not  to  be  found.  They  had  given 
them  a  'wide  berth,'  taking  their  all  away  with  them,  even 
their  dead. 

"  Carson  and  his  command  returned  to  camp,  where  a 
council  of  war  decided  that,  as  the  Indians  would  report  at 
the  principal  encampment  the  terrible  loss  they  had  sus- 
tained, and  others  would  be  sent  to  renew  the  fight,  it  was 
wise  to  prepare  to  act  on  the  defensive,  and  use  every  pre- 
caution immediately;  and  accordingly  a  sentinel  was  sta- 
tioned on  a  lofty  hill  near  by,  who  soon  reported  that  the 
Indians  were  upon  the  move. 

"  Their  plans  matured,  they  at  once  threw  up  a  breast- 
work, under  Carson's  directions,  and  waited  the  approach 
of  the  Indians,  who  came  in  slowly,  the  first  parties  waiting 
for  those  behind.  After  three  days  a  full  thousand  had 
reached  the  camp  about  half  a  mile  from  the  breastwork  of 
the  trappers.  In  their  war  paint,  stripes  of  red  across  the 
forehead  and  down  either  cheek,  with  their  bows  and 
arrows,  tomahawks  and  lances,  this  army  of  Indians  pre- 
sented a  formidable  appearance  to  the  small  body  of  trap- 
pers who  were  opposed  to  them. 

"The  war  dance  was  enacted  in  sight  and  hearing  of  the 
trappers,  and  at  early  dawn  the  Indians  advanced,  having 
made  every  preparation  for  the  attack.  Carson  commanded 
his  men  to  reserve  their  fire  till  the  Indians  were  near 
enough  to  have  every  shot  tell;  but,  seeing  the  strength  of 



the  white  men's  position,  after  a  few  ineffectual  shots,  the 
Indians  retired,  camped  a  mile  from  them,  and  finally  sep- 
arated into  two  parties,  and  went  away,  leaving  the  trappers 
to  breathe  more  freely,  for,  at  the  best,  the  encounter  must 
have  been  of  a  desperate  character. 

"They  evidently  recognized  the  leader  who  had  before 
dealt  so  severely  with  them,  in  the  skill  with  which  the  de- 
fense was  arranged,  and  if  the  name  of  Kit  Carson  was  on 
their  lips,  they  knew  him  for  both  bravery  and  magnanimity, 
and  had  not  the  courage  to  offer  him  battle. 

"Another  winter  gone,  with  saddlery,  moccasin-making, 
lodge-building,  to  complete  the  repairs  of  the  summer's 
wars  and  the  winter's  fight  all  completed,  Carson,  with 
fifteen  men,  went  past  Fort  Hall  again  to  the  Salmon  River, 
and  trapped  part  of  the  season  there,  and  upon  Big  Snake 
and  Goose  creeks,  and  selling  his  furs  at  Fort  Hall,  again 
joined  Bridger  in  another  trapping  excursion  into  the  Black- 
feet  country. 

"  The  Blackfeet  had  molested  the  traps  of  another  party 
who  had  arrived  there  before  them,  and  had  driven  them 
away.  The  Indian  assailants  were  still  near,  and  Carson 
led  his  party  against  them,  taking  care  to  station  himself 
and  men  in  the  edge  of  a  thicket,  where  they  kept  the 
savages  at  bay  all  day,  taking  a  man  from  their  number 
with  nearly  every  shot  of  their  well-directed  rifles.  In  vain 
the  Indians  now  attempted  to  fire  the  thicket;  it  would  not 
burn,  and  suddenly  they  retired,  forced  again  to  acknowl- 
edge defeat  at  the  hands  of  Kit  Carson,  the  '  Monarch  of 
the  Prairies.' 

"Carson's  party  now  joined  with  the  others,  but  con- 
cluding that  they  could  not  trap  successfully  with  the 
annoyance  the.  Indians  were  likely  to  give  them,  as  their 
force  was  too  small  to  hope  to  conquer,  they  left  this  part 
of  the  country  for  the  north  fork  of  the  Missouri. 

KIT    CARSON.  115 

"  Now  they  were  with  the  friendly  Flatheads,  one  of 
whose  chiefs  joined  them  in  the  hunt,  and  went  into  camp 
near  them  with  a  party  of  his  braves.  This  tribe  of 
Indians,  like  several  other  tribes  which  extend  along  this 
latitude  of  the  Pacific,  have  the  custom  which  gives  them 
their  name,  thus  described  by  Irving,  in  speaking  of  the 
Indians  upon  the  Lower  Columbia,  about  its  mouth: 

"'A  most  singular  custom,'  he  says,  'prevails  not  only 
among  the  Chinooks,  but  among  most  of  the  tribes  about 
this  part  of  the  coast,  which  is  the  flattening  of  the  fore- 
head. The  process  by  which  this  deformity  is  effected 
commences  immediately  after  birth.  The  infant  is  laid  in 
a  wooden  trough  by  way  of  cradle;  the  end  on  which  the 
head  reposes  is  higher  than  the  rest.  A  padding  is  placed 
on  the  forehead  of  the  infant,  with  a  piece  of  bark  above  it, 
and  is  pressed  down  by  cords  which  pass  through  holes 
upon  the  sides  of  the  trough.  As  the  tightening  of  the 
padding  and  the  pressure  of  the  head  to  the  board  is 
gradual,  the  process  is  said  not  to  be  attended  with  pain. 
The  appearance  of  the  infant,  however,  while  in  this  state 
of  compression,  is  whimsically  hideous,  and  its  little  black 
eyes,  we  are  told,  being  forced  out  by  the  tightness  of  the 
bandages,  resemble  those  of  a  mouse  choked  in  a  trap. 

" '  About  a  year's  pressure  is  sufficient  to  produce  the 
desired  effect,  at  the  end  of  which  time  the  child  emerges 
from  its  bandages  a  complete  flathead,  and  continues  so 
through  life.  It  must  be  noted,  however,  that  this  flatten- 
ing of  the  head  has  something  in  it  of  aristocratic  signifi- 
cance, like  the  crippling  of  the  feet  among  the  Chinese 
ladies  of  quality.  At  any  rate  it  is  the  sign  of  freedom. 
No  slave  is  permitted  to  bestow  this  deformity  upon  the 
head  of  his  children.  All  the  slaves,  therefore,  are  round- 
heads.' " 

In  December,  1846,  after  a  severe  battle  with  the  Mexi- 



cans  and  the  condition  of  General  Kearney  and  his  men 
had  become  desperate,  a  council  of  war  was  called.  After 
discussing  a  variety  of  measures,  Carson  showed  himself 
"  the  right  man  in  the  right  place."  He  said,  "  Our  case  is  a 
desperate  one,  but  there  is  yet  hope.  If  we  stay  here  we  are 
all  dead  men;  our  animals  can  not  last  long,  and  the  sol- 
diers and  marines  at  San  Diego  do  not  know  of  our  coming, 
but  if  they  receive  information  of  our  condition,  they  will 
hasten  to  our  rescue.  I  will  attempt  to  go  through  the 
Mexican  lines,  then  to  San  Diego,  and  send  relief  from 
Commodore  Stockton." 

Lieutenant  Beale  of  the  United  States  Navy  at  once 
seconded  Carson,  and  volunteered  to  accompany  him. 
General  Kearney  immediately  accepted  the  proposal  as 
his  only  hope,  and  they  started  at  once,  as  soon  as  the 
cover  of  darkness  hung  around  them.  Their  mission  was 
to  be  one  of  success  or  of  death  to  themselves  and 
the  whole  force.  Carson  was  familiar  with  the  customs 
of  the  Mexicans,  as  well  as  the  Indians,  of  putting  their  ears 
to  the  ground  to  detect  any  sound,  and  therefore  knew  the 
necessity  of  avoiding  the  slightest  noise.  As  it  was  impos- 
sible to  avoid  making  some  noise  wearing  their  shoes,  they 
removed  them,  and  putting  them  under  their  belts  crept 
over  bushes  and  rocks  with  the  greatest  caution  and  silence. 
They  discovered  that  the  Mexicans  had  three  rows  of  sen- 
tinels, whose  beats  extended  past  each  other,  embracing  the 
hill  where  Kearney  and  his  men  were  held  in  siege.  They 
were  doubtless  satisfied  these  could  not  be  eluded,  but 
they  crept  on,  often  so  near  a  sentinel  as  to  see  his  figure 
and  equipment  in  the  darkness,  and  once,  when  within  a 
few  yards  of  them,  discovered  one  of  the  sentinels,  who  had 
dismounted  and  lighted  his  cigarette  with  his  flint  and 
steel.  Discovering  this  sentinel,  Kit  Carson,  as  he  lay  flat 
on  the  ground,  put  his  foot  back  and  touched  Lieutenant 

KIT    CARSON.  117 

Beale,  as  a  signal  for  him  to  be  still,  as  he  was  doing.  The 
minutes  the  Mexican  was  occupied  in  this  way  seemed 
hours  to  our  heroes,  who  momentarily  feared  they  would  be 
discovered.  Carson  asserted  they  were  so  still  he  could 
hear  Lieutenant  Beale's  heart  beat,  and,  in  the  agony  of  the 
time,  he  lived  a  year.  But  the  Mexican  finally  mounted 
his  horse  and  rode  off  in  a  contrary  direction,  as  if  guided 
by  Providence  to  give  safety  to  these  courageous  advent- 

For  full  two  miles  Kit  Carson  and  Lieutenant  Beale  thus 
worked  their  way  along  upon  their  hands  and  knees,  turn- 
ing their  eyes  in  every  direction  to  detect  anything  which 
might  lead  to  their  discovery;  and,  having  passed  the  last 
sentinel  and  left  the  lines  sufficiently  far  behind,  they  felt 
an  immeasurable  relief  in  once  more  gaining  their  feet.  But 
their  shoes  were  gone.  In  the  excitement  of  this  perilous 
journey  neither  had  thought  of  his  shoes  since  he  first  put 
them  in  his  belt,  but  they  could  speak  again  and  congratu- 
late themselves  and  each  other  that  the  great  danger  was 
passed,  and  thank  heaven  that  they  had  been  aided  thus  far. 
But  there  were  still  many  difficulties  in  their  path,  which 
was  rough  with  bushes,  from  the  necessity  of  having  to 
avoid  the  well-trodden  trail,  lest  they  be  discovered.  The 
prickly  pear  covered  the  ground,  its  thorns  penetrated 
their  feet  at  every  step,  and  their  road  was  lengthened  by 
going  out  of  the  direct  path,  though  the  latter  would  have 
shortened  their  journey  many  a  weary  mile. 

All  the  day  following  they  pursued  their  journey  onward 
without  cessation,  and  into  the  night  following,  for  they 
could  not  stop  until  they  were  assured  relief  was  to  be  fur- 
nished their  anxious  and  perilous  conditioned  fellow 

Carson  pursued  so  straight  a  course  and  aimed  so  cor- 
rectly  for  his  mark  that  they   entered    the  town  by  the 


most  direct  route,  and  answering  "  friends  "  to  the  chal- 
lenge of  the  sentinel,  it  was  known  from  whence  they  came, 
and  they  were  at  once  conducted  to  Commodore  Stockton, 
to  whom  they  related  their  errand,  and  the  further  particu- 
lars we  have  already  narrated. 

Commodore  Stockton  immediately  detailed  a  force  of 
nearly  two  hundred  men,  and,  with  his  usual  promptness, 
ordered  them  to  go  to  the  relief  of  their  besieged  country- 
men by  forced  marches.  They  took  with  them  a  piece  of 
ordnance,  which  the  men  were  obliged  themselves  to  draw, 
as  there  were  no  animals  to  be  had  for  this  work. 

Carson's  feet  were  in  a  terrible  condition,  and  he  did  not 
return  with  the  soldiers;  he  needed  rest  and  the  best  of 
care  or  he  might  lose  his  feet;  but  he  described  the  posi- 
tion of.General  Kearney  so  accurately  that  the  party  sent  to 
his  relief  could  find  him  without  difficulty,  and  yet  had  the 
commodore  expressed  the  wish,  Carson  would  have  under- 
taken to  guide  the  relief  party  upon  its  march. 

Lieutenant  Beale  was  partially  deranged  for  several  days 
from  the  effects  of  the  severe  service,  and  was  sent  on 
board  a  frigate  lying  in  port  for  medical  attendance,  and 
he  did  not  fully  recover  his  former  health  for  more  than 
two  years. 

The  relief  party  from  Commodore  Stockton  reached 
General  Kearney  without  encountering  any  Mexicans,  and 
very  soon  all  marched  to  San  Diego,  where  the  wounded 
soldiers  received  medical  assistance. 



Fifty  years  ago,  when  Kansas  City  consisted  of  a  ware- 
house and  there  was  not  a  single  private  residence  of 
civilized  man  between  the  Missouri  River  and  San  Fran- 
cisco, S.  E.  Ward,  a  trapper,  landed  from  a  steamer  at 
Independence.  He  was  a  penniless  youth  of  eighteen 
years,  direct  from  the  parental  home  in  Virginia,  filled 
with  eager  desire  to  gain  a  fortune  in  the  far  West.  Now, 
at  sixty-eight  years  of  age,  Mr.  Ward  is  almost  twice  a 
millionaire  and  one  of  the  most  respected  citizens  of 
Western  Missouri.  He  is  one  of  the  pioneers  that  are  left 
to  speak  of  the  struggles  and  triumphs  of  early  Western 
life.  The  family  home  is  a  spacious  two-story  brick  house, 
2$  miles  south  of  Westport,  on  the  old  Santa  Fe  trail. 
The  house  stands  upon  a  farm  of  500  acres  at  the  edge  of 
the  great  prairie  which  stretches  away  through  Kansas  to 
the  base  of  the  Rocky  Mountains.  On  this  very  spot 
where  he  now  lives  Mr.  Ward  camped  more  than  once  on 
his  return  from  trading  expeditions,  years  ago,  in  the 

He  has  had  experiences  that  do  not  fall  to  the 
ordinary  lot  of  man.  Thrown  by  circumstances  into  a  new 
country  in  his  earlier  life,  he  has  traveled  thousands  of 
miles  alone  through  the  mountains  and  across  the  prairies, 
and  often  spent  weeks  without  meeting  a  single  human 
being.  Exposed  to  snow,  sleet,  and  rain,  with  no  shelter 
but  a  buffalo  robe,  and  at  times  with  starvation  staring  him 
in  the  face,  the  chances  seemed  slight  indeed  of  ever  Com- 


ing  out  alive.  During  his  experience  in  the  West  he  met 
Fremont  in  his  expedition  through  the  mountains,  saw 
Brigham  Young  on  the  Platte  River  as  he  was  on  his  way 
to  found  a  Mormon  empire,  passed  through  the  stormy 
period  of  the  Mexican  War,  the  California  gold  excitement, 
the  Civil  War,  and  witnessed  the  opening  of  the  Pacific 
Railroad,  and  the  mighty  influx  of  population  on  the 
plains  of  the  great  West. 

The  first  seven  years  of  his  life  on  the  frontier  were 
passed  largely  in  intercourse  with  Indian  tribes,  extending 
from  the  Red  River  on  the  south  to  the  upper  waters  of 
the  Columbia  and  Yellowstone  on  the  north.  Hunting, 
trapping,  and  trading  were  the  only  occupations  open  to 
white  men  west  of  the  Missouri  River  in  those  days.  In 
little  bands  of  from  two  to  twelve  the  hunters  and  trappers 
roamed  through  the  vast  region  with  but  little  fear  of  the 
redskins.  The  Indians  had  not  contracted  the  vices  of 
civilization,  and  were  a  different  race  of  people  from  what 
they  are  to-day.  The  cruelties  we  read  of  as  practiced  by 
them  in  later  years  were  unknown.  I  never  knew  of  a 
prisoner  being  burned  at  the  stake,  and  ordinarily  the 
hunter  felt  as  safe  in  an  Indian  country  as  in  his  own 
settlement.  The  Indians  were  armed  with  bows  and 
arrows,  not  more  than  one  in  fifty  being  the  possessor  of  a 
gun.  When  an  Indian  did  use  a  gun  it  was  usually  a  light 
shotgun  that  proved  ineffective  at  any  great  distance.  An 
experienced  frontiersman  considered  himself  safe  against 
any  small  number  of  Indians. 

By  means  of  the  sign  language  we  were  able  to  talk  with 
the  Indians  upon  all  subjects;  and  as  they  were  very  great 
talkers  and  inveterate  story-tellers,  many  is  the  hour  I  have 
passed  seated  by  the  camp-fire  hearing  their  adventures  or 
the  legends  of  their  nations.  I  have  often  wondered  why 
the  sign    language,  as  recognized   and    perfected    by    the 


Indians,  was  not  adopted  among  civilized  people  instead  of 
the  deaf  and  dumb  alphabet.  The  Indian's  method  of 
communicating  his  ideas  is  much  more  impressive  and 
natural.  The  Cheyennes  and  Arapahoes  were  especially 
noted  for  their  skill  in  sign  language. 

In  some  respects  the  Indians  were  superior  to  the  whites 
as  hunters.  They  knew  nothing  of  trapping  beaver  until 
taught  by  the  whites,  but  they  could  give  valuable  points 
on  bagging  the  large  game  on  the  plains.  Forty  or  fifty 
years  ago  the  plains  were  swarming  with  buffalo.  I  have 
often  seen  droves  so  large  that  no  eye  could  compass  them. 
Their  numbers  were  countless.  The  Indian  hunter  riding 
bare-backed  would  guide  his  horse  headlong  into  the  midst 
of  the  herd,  singling  out  the  fattest  and  in  an  instant  send- 
ing the  deadly  arrow  clean  through  his  victim.  In  a  single 
day's  hunt  they  sometimes  killed  3,000  to  4,000  buffalo. 
The  dead  bodies  would  lie  scattered  over  the  prairie  for 
miles.  It  required  the  greatest  diligence  to  save  the  skins 
and  dry  the  meat  for  use  in  winter.  They  made  wholesale 
slaughter  of  antelope  by  forming  a  "surround."  This 
required  the  presence  of  several  hundred  Indians  to  make 
a  complete  success.  Early  in  the  morning  the  men  and 
boys  would  form  a  circle  miles  in  diameter,  riding  round 
and  round,  making  the  circle  smaller  at  every  revolution 
and  growing  closer  together.  All  the  game  within  the 
ranks  was  gradually  collected  into  a  body  which  was  driven 
to  an  inclosure  formed  by  weeds  piled  high  up  at  the  sides, 
behind  which  were  the  women  and  old  men.  As  the  game 
passed  the  reserve  force  these  bobbed  up  and  set  up 
unearthly  shrieks  and  yells  that  caused  the  frightened 
animals  to  plunge  forward  over  a  precipice  to  which  the 
inclosure  conducted.  The  slaughter  was  terrible.  Indians 
stationed  below  gave  the  quietus  to  such  game  as  made  the 
descent  with  but  slight  injury.     At  the  close  of  the  day  a 


great  feast  was  held,  and  nobody  enjoys  a  feast  more  than 
an  Indian. 

I  have  been  asked  if  marriage  was  a  success  among  the 
aborigines.  I  never  heard  it  hinted  that  it  was  otherwise. 
The  Indian  had  the  privilege  of  taking  as  many  wives  as 
he  was  able  to  support,  and  if  he  married  the  oldest  sister 
in  a  family,  all  the  remaining  sisters  were  considered  his 
property  as  they  became  of  age.  Under  favorable  circum- 
stances, in  some  tribes,  a  warrior  took  a  new  wife  every  two 
or  three  years.  A  separate  lodge  was  provided  for  each 
wife,  as  the  women  would  fall  out  and  scratch  each  other 
if  kept  together.  A  peculiarity  in  the  Indian  family  rela- 
tions was  that  as  soon  as  a  wife  found  herself  to  be  with 
child  her  person  was  considered  sacred,  and  she  lived  apart 
from  all  the  rest  of  the  household  until  the  child  had  been 
born  and  had  weaned  itself  of  its  own  accord.  This  exclusion 
extended  even  to  the  master  of  the  house,  and  was  never 
violated.  The  children  were  fairly  idolized  among  the 
more  advanced  tribes.  The  parents  seemed  to  live  for 
their  children,  more  particularly  when  the  children  were 

An  Indian's  wealth  was  known  by  the  number  of  his 
horses.  There  were  both  rich  and  poor  Indians,  but  the 
latter  were  never  allowed  to  want  when  there  was  anything 
to  be  had.  After  a  great  hunt  the  poor  man  was  granted 
the  privilege  of  taking  the  first  carcasses  nearest  the  camp. 

Some  Indians  kept  their  lodges  nicely  painted  and  be- 
yond criticism  as  to  cleanliness.  The  lodges  were  renewed 
every  year,  as  frequent  moving  and  exposure  to  weather 
made  the  skins  leaky.  The  Indians'  range  extended  any- 
where that  game  and  food  for  their  animals  could  be 
found.  It  was  a  rare  occurrence  for  them  to  remain  a 
month  in  a  single  vicinity.  The  monotony  of  hunting  and 
moving  was  varied  by  occasional  forays  upon  an  unfriendly 


tribe,  stealing  their  horses,  and  carrying  off  scalps  and 
prisoners.  Unless  these  captives  were  children  they  were 
put  to  death.  The  children  were  usually  adopted  and 
treated  with  the  greatest  kindness.  The  older  prisoners, 
both  men  and  women,  were  dispatched  with  little  cere- 
mony. The  killing  was  usually  deferred  for  several  days 
after  the  prisoners  were  brought  into  camp.  A  young 
Pawnee  Indian  who  was  killed  by  a  party  of  Comanches 
was  taken  into  the  open  air,  his  hands  were  tied  to  his  legs, 
and  he  was  shot  through  the  heart.  He  uttered  not  a 
word  or  groan.  After  the  killing,  a  warrior  stepped  for- 
ward and  raised  the  dead  Pawnee's  scalp,  then  the  war 
dance  was  held.  A  Crow  Indian  was  dispatched  even  more 
expeditiously.  Trapper  Ward  called  on  the  captain  in  the 
lodge  where  he  was  confined,  and  they  talked  together  by 
signs.  He  said  he  knew  he  must  die,  but  felt  perfectly 
resigned  to  his  fate,  as  he  would  inflict  the  same  penalty  on 
his  enemies  if  he  had  the  chance.  While  they  were  talking, 
a  warrior  appeared  at  the  door  and  made  a  motion.  The 
Crow  stepped  forward  and  was  shot  within  a  few  feet  of 
the  spot  he  had  occupied  the  moment  before.  After  the 
scalping  and  war  dance  he  was  tied  up  in  a  standing  posi- 
tion, with  his  hands  stretched  as  far  apart  over  his  head  as 
possible,  making  a  ghastly  spectacle,  and  left  as  a  warn- 
ing to  all  the  enemies  of  his  executioners. 

The  winter  of  1838  and  1839,  Mr.  Ward  says,  was  viv- 
idly impressed  upon  his  mind,  being  his  first  experience  as 
a  trapper.  After  a  journey  of  600  miles  from  Independ- 
ence, he  arrived  at  Fort  Bent,  and  early  in  the  fall  the  dif- 
ferent hunting  and  trapping  parties  started  out  for  a  long 
sojourn  in  the  mountains.  He  was  fortunate  in  being  one 
of  a  party  of  twelve,  of  which  Kit  Carson  was  a  member. 
They  made  headquarters  in  Brown's  Hole,  on  the  Colorado 
River,  where  it  enters  the  mountains.     Trapping  proved 


hard  work,  but  he  never  enjoyed  life  more,  and  knew  no 
such  thing  as  sickness.  Their  clothes  were  made  (by  their 
own  hands)  of  buckskin.  Their  food  was  nothing  but  meat 
cooked  on  a  stick  or  on  the  coals,  as  they  had  no  cooking 
utensils.  Antelope,  dear,  elk,  bear,  beaver,  and,  in  case  of 
necessity,  even  the  wolf,  furnished  a  variety  that  was 
always  acceptable  to  eat.  At  night  they  gathered  round  a 
roaring  fire,  in  comfortable  quarters,  to  listen  to  the  stories 
which  such  men  as  Kit  Carson  could  tell. 

At  the  close  of  three  months  a  successful  trapper  was 
often  able  to  show  a  pack  of  1 20  beaver  skins,  weighing 
about  100  pounds.  As  he  made  two  trapping  expeditions 
during  the  year,  in  the  spring  and  fall,  he  would  show  200 
pounds,  worth  §6  per  pound,  as  his  year's  work.  In  addi- 
tion to  this,  the  musk-stones  of  the  beaver  were  worth  as 
much  as  the  skins,  so  that  some  of  them  made  $3,000  per 
year  as  trappers.  It  was  a  poor  trapper  that  did  not  earn 
half  as  much.  But  few  of  them  ever  saved  any  money.  The 
traders  from  the  States  charged  them  enormously  for  sup- 
plies, and  Western  men  were  inveterate  gamblers.  Sugar 
was  $1.50  per  pound,  coffee  the  same,  tobacco  $5  per 
pound,  and  a  common  shirt  could  not  be  bought  for  less 
than  $5,  while  whisky  sold  f  jT  over  $30  a  gallon.  With  flour 
at  $1  per  pound,  and  luxuries  in  proportion,  it  was  a  ques- 
tion of  but  a  few  days  at  the  rendezvous  before  the  labor  of 
months  was  used  up.  The  traders  were  often  called  upon 
to  fit  out  the  men  upon  credit,  after  a  prosperous  season. 



To  be  a  successful  trapper  required  great  caution,  as 
well  as  a  perfect  knowledge  of  the  habits  of  the  animals. 
The  residence  of  the  beaver  was  often  discovered  by  seeing 
bits  of  green  wood  and  gnawed  branches  of  the  basswood, 
slippery  elm,  and  sycamore,  their  favorite  food,  floating  on 
the  water  or  lodged  on  the  shores  of  the  stream  below,  as 
well  as  by  their  tracks  or  foot-marks. 

These  indications  were  technically  called  "beaver  signs." 
They  were  also  sometimes  discovered  by  their  dams  thrown 
across  creeks  and  small,  sluggish  streams,  forming  a  pond 
in  which  were  erected  their  habitations. 

The  hunter,  as  he  proceeded  to  set  his  traps,  generally 
approached  by  water,  in  his  canoe.  He  selected  a  steep, 
abrupt  spot  in  the  bank  of  the  creek,  in  which  he  excavated 
a  hole  with  his  paddle,  as  he  sat  in  the  canoe,  sufficiently 
large  to  hold  the  trap,  and  so  deep  as  to  be  about  three 
inches  below  the  surface  of  the  water,  when  the  jaws  of 
the  trap  were  expanded.  About  two  feet  above  the  trap,  a 
stick,  three  or  four  inches  in  length,  was  stuck  in  the  bank. 
In  the  upper  end  of  this  stick  the  trapper  cut  a  small  hole 
with  his  knife,  into  which  he  dropped  a  small  quantity  of 
the  essence  of  perfume,  which  was  used  to  attract  the 
beaver  to  the  spot.  This  stick  was  fastened  by  a  string  of 
horse-hair  to  the  trap,  and  with  it  was  pulled  into  the  water 
by  the  beaver.  The  reason  for  this  was  that  it  might  not 
remain  after  the  trap  was  sprung,  and  attract  other  beavers 
to  the  spot,  and  thus  prevent  their  seeking  other  traps 
ready  for  them. 



This  scent,  or  essence,  was  made  by  mingling  the  fresh 
castor  of  the  beaver  with  an  extract  of  the  bark  of  the 
roots  of  the  spice-bush,  and  then  kept  in  a  bottle  for  use. 
The  making  of  this  essence  was  kept  a  profound  secret, 
and  often  sold  for  a  considerable  sum  to  the  younger  trap- 
pers by  the  older  proficients  in  the  mysteries  of  beaver- 
hunting.  Where  trappers  had  no  proper  bait,  they  some- 
times made  use  of  the  fresh  roots  of  the  sassafras  or  spice- 
bush,  of  both  of  which  the  beaver  was  very  fond. 

It  is  said  by  old  trappers  that  the  beaver  will  smell  the 
well-prepared  essence  the  distance  of  a  mile,  their  sense  of 
smell  being  very  acute,  or  they  would  not  so  readily  detect 
the  vicinity  of  man  by  the  scent  of  his  trail.  The  aroma  of 
the  essence,  having  attracted  the  beaver  to  the  vicinity  of 
the  trap,  in  his  attempt  to  reach  it  he  has  to  climb  up  on 
the  bank  where  it  is  sticking.  This  effort  leads  him 
directly  over  the  trap,  and  he  is  usually  caught  by  one  of 
his  fore  legs. 

The  trap  was  connected  by  an  iron  chain,  six  feet  in 
length,  to  a  stout  line  made  of  the  bark  of  the  leather 
wood,  twisted  into  a  neat  cord  fifteen  or  twenty  feet  in 
length.  These  cords  were  usually  prepared  by  the  trap- 
pers at  home,  or  at  their  camps,  for  cords  of  hemp  or  flax 
were  scarce  in  the  days  of  beaver-hunting.  The  end  of  the 
line  was  secured  to  a  stake  driven  into  the  bed  of  the  creek 
under  water,  and  in  the  beaver's  struggles  to  escape  he  was 
usually  drowned  before  the  arrival  of  the  trapper.  Some- 
times, however,  he  freed  himself  by  gnawing  off  his  own 
leg,  though  this  rarely  happened. 

When  setting  the  trap,  if  it  was  raining,  or  there  was  a 
prospect  of  rain,  a  leaf,  generally  of  sycamore,  was  placed 
over  the  essence  stick  to  protect  it  from  the  rain. 

The  beaver  was  a  very  sagacious  and  cautious  animal, 
and  it  required  great  care  in  the  trapper  in  his  approach  to 


his  haunts  to  set  his  traps,  that  no  scent  of  his  hands  or 
feet  should  be  left  on  the  earth  or  bushes  that  he  touched. 
For  this  reason  the  trapper  generally  approached  in  a 
canoe.  If  he  had  no  canoe  it  was  necessary  to  enter  the 
stream  thirty  or  forty  yards  below  where  he  wished  to  set 
his  trap,  and  walk  up  the  stream  to  the  place,  taking  care 
to  return  in  the  same  manner,  lest  the  beaver  should  take 
alarm  and  not  come  near  the  bait,  as  his  fear  of  the  vicinity 
of  man  was  greater  than  his  appetite  for  the  essence. 

Caution  was  also  required  in  kindling  a  fire  near  the 
haunts  of  the  beaver,  as  the  smell  of  smoke  alarmed  them. 
The  firing  of  a  gun,  also,  often  marred  the  sport  of  the 

Thus  it  will  be  seen  that,  to  make  a  successful  beaver 
hunter,  required  more  qualities  or  natural  gifts  than  fall  to 
the  share  of  most  men. 



In  the  early  part  of  June,  1S50,  I  loaded  my  train,  con- 
sisting of  ten  wagons  drawn  by  130  oxen,  at  Kansas  City, 
Mo.,  with  merchandise  destined  for  Santa  Fe,  N.  M., 
a  distance  of  about  eight  hundred  miles  from  Kansas  City, 
and  started  for  that  point.  After  being  out  some  eight  or 
ten  days  and  traveling  through  what  was  then  called  Indian 
Territory,  but  was  not  organized  until  four  years  later,  and 
was  then  styled  Kansas.  Arriving  one  evening  at  a  stream 
called  One  Hundred  and  Ten,  I  camped  for  the  night.  I 
unyoked  my  oxen  and  turned  them  upon  the  grass.  Find- 
ing the  grass  so  good  and  the  animals  weary  with  the  day's 
work,  I  thought  they  would  not  stroll  away,  and  therefore 
did  not  put  any  guard,  as  was  my  custom. 

At  early  dawn  on  the  following  morning  I  arose,  saddled 
my  horse,  which,  by  the  way,  was  a  good  one,  and  told  my 
assistant  to  arouse  the  teamsters,  so  they  could  be  ready 
to  yoke  their  teams  as  soon  as  I  drove  them  into  the  corral, 
which  was  formed  by  the  wagons.  I  rode  around  what  I 
supposed  to  be  all  the  herd,  but  in  rounding  them  up  before 
reaching  the  wagons,  I  discovered  that  there  were  a  number 
of  them  missing.  I  then  made  a  circle,  leaving  the  ones  I 
had  herded  together.  I  had  not  traveled  very  far  when  I 
struck  the  trail  of  the  missing  oxen;  it  being  very  plain,  I 
could  ride  my  horse  on  a  gallop  and  keep  track  of  it. 

I  had  not  traveled  more  than  a  mile  when  I  discovered 
the  tracks  of  Indian  ponies.  I  then  knew  the  Indians  had 
driven  off  my  oxen.     I  thought  of  the  fact  that  I  was  un- 



armed,  not  thinking  it  necessary  to  take  my  gun  when  I 
left  the  wagons,  as  I  only  expected  to  go  a  few  hundred 
yards.  We  had  not  yet  reached  the  portion  of  the  territory 
where  we  would  expect  to  meet  hostile  Indians,  so  I  went 
ahead  on  the  trail,  thinking  it  was  some  half-friendly  ones 
that  had  driven  my  oxen  away,  as  they  sometimes  did,  in 
order  to  get  a  fee  for  finding  and  bringing  them  back 

I  expected  to  overtake  them  at  any  moment,  for  the  trail 
looked  very  fresh,  as  though  they  were  only  a  short  dis- 
tance ahead  of  me.  So  on  and  on  I  went,  galloping  my 
horse  most  of  the  time,  until  I  had  gone  about  twelve  miles 
from  my  camp.  I  passed  through  a  skirt  of  timber  that 
divided  one  portion  of  the  open  prairie  from  the  other,  and 
there  overtook  thirty-four  head  of  my  oxen  resting  from 
their  travel. 

About  sixty  yards  to  the  east  of  the  cattle  were  six 
painted  Indian  braves,  who  had  dismounted  from  their 
horses,  each  one  leaning  against  his  horse,  with  his  right 
hand  resting  upon  his  saddle,  their  guns  being  in  their  left. 
I  came  upon  them  suddenly,  the  timber  preventing  them 
from  seeing  me  until  I  was  within  a  few  rods  of  them.  I 
threw  up  my  hand,  went  in  a  lope  around  my  oxen,  giving 
some  hideous  yells,  and  told  the  cattle  they  could  go  back 
to  the  wagons  on  the  trail  they  had  come.  They  at  once 
heeded  me  and  started.  I  never  saw  six  meaner  or  more 
surprised  looking  men  than  those  six  braves  were,  for  I 
think  they  thought  I  had  an  armed  party  just  behind  me, 
or  I  would  not  have  acted  so  courageously  as  I  did.  So  I 
followed  my  cattle,  who  were  ready  to  take  their  way  back, 
and  left  the  six  savages  standing  in  dismay.  The  oxen  and 
myself  were  soon  out  of  sight  in  the  forest,  and  that  is  the 
last  I  saw  of  the  six  braves  who  had  been  sent  out  by  their 
chief  the  night  before  to  steal  the  oxen. 


Very  soon  after  I  got  through  the  timber  and  into  the 
prairie  again  I  met,  from  time  to  time,  one  or  two  Indians 
trotting  along  on  their  ponies,  following  the  trail  that  the 
cattle  made  when  their  comrades  drove  them  off.  When 
within  a  short  distance  of  the  herd  they  would  leave  the 
trail  and  leave  plenty  of  space  to  the  cattle,  fall  in  behind 
me,  and  trot  on  toward  the  six  braves  I  had  left.  I  will 
say  here  that  I  began  to  feel  very  much  elated  over  my  suc- 
cess in  capturing  my  cattle  from  six  armed  savages,  and 
being  given  the  right-of-way  by  other  parties  also  armed. 
But  I  did  not  have  to  travel  very  far  under  the  pleasant 
reflection  that  I  was  a  hero;  when  I  was  about  half-way 
back  to  the  wagons  I  looked  ahead  about  half-a-mile  and 
saw  a  large  body  of  Indians,  comprising  some  twenty-five 
warriors,  who  proved  to  be  under  the  command  of  their 
chief,  armed  and  coming  toward  me.  I  then  began  to  feel 
a  little  smaller  than  I  had  a  few  minutes  previous,  for  I  was 
entirely  unarmed,  and  even  had  I  been  armed  what  could  I 
have  done  with  twenty-five  armed  savages? 

My  fears  were  very  soon  realized,  for  when  they  arrived 
within  a  few  hundred  yards  of  me  and  the  chief  saw  me 
returning  with  the  cattle  he  had  sent  his  braves  to  drive  off, 
he  commanded  his  men  to  make  a  descent  upon  me,  and  he 
undertook  the  job  of  leading  them.  They  raised  a  hideous 
yell  and  started  toward  me  at  the  top  of  their  horses'  speed. 
If  my  oxen  had  not  been  driven  so  far  and  become  to  some 
extent  tired,  I  would  have  had  a  royal  stampede.  The  ani- 
mals only  ran  a  few  hundred  yards  until  I  succeeded  in 
holding  them  up.  By  this  time  the  Indians  had  reached  me 
and  my  cattle.  The  braves  surrounded  the  cattle,  and  the 
chief  came  at  the  top  of  his  horse's  speed  directly  toward 
me,  with  his  gun  drawn  up  in  striking  attitude.  Of  course 
I  did  not  allow  him  to  get  in  reaching  distance.  I  turned  my 
horse  and  put  spurs  to  him;  he  was  a  splendid  animal  and 


it  was  a  comparatively  easy  matter  for  me  to  keep  out  of 
the  reach  of  the  vicious  chief,  who  did  not  want  to  kill  me, 
but  desired  to  scare  me,  or  cause  me  to  run  away  and  leave 
my  herd,  or  disable  me  so  I  could  not  follow  him  and  his 
band  if  they  attempted  to  take  the  cattle. 

This  chasing  me  off  for  some  distance  was  repeated  three 
times,  I  returning  in  close  proximity  to  where  his  braves 
surrounded  the  cattle  on  every  side,  some  on  foot  holding 
their  ponies,  others  on  horseback.  Those  who  had  alighted 
were  dancing  and  yelling  at  the  tops  of  their  voices.  The 
third  time  I  returned  to  where  the  chief  and  one  of  his 
braves,  armed  with  bow  and  arrows,  were  sitting  on  their 
horses,  some  distance  from  the  cattle  and  in  line  between 
me  and  the  group  of  braves.  When  I  got  within  thirty  or 
forty  yards  of  him  he  beckoned  me  to  come  to  him,  for 
all  the  communication  we  had  was  carried  on  by  means  of 
signs;  I  did  not  speak  their  language  nor  they  mine.  I  rode 
cautiously  up  side  by  side,  a  short  distance  from  the  chief, 
with  our  horses'  heads  in  the  same  direction.  When  I  had 
fairly  stopped  to  see  what  he  was  going  to  do,  his  brave 
who  was  on  the  opposite  side  from  me  slid  off  his  horse, 
ran  under  the  neck  of  the  chief's,  and  made  a  lunge  to 
catch  the  bridle  of  my  horse.  His  sudden  appearance 
caused  the  animal  to  jump  so  quick  and  far  that  he  had 
just  missed  getting  hold  of  the  rein.  Had  he  succeeded  in 
the  attempt  they  would  have  taken  my  horse  and  oxen  and 
cleared  out,  leaving  me  standing  on  the  prairie.  When  he 
found  he  had  failed  in  his  attempt,  he  returned  to  his  horse, 
mounted,  and  he  and  the  chief  rode  slowly  toward  me,  for 
I  had  reined  up  my  horse  when  I  found  T  was  out  of  reach. 
I  sat  still  to  see  what  their  next  maneuver  would  be.  The 
brave  changed  from  the  left  of  the  chief  to  the  right  as 
they  came  slowly  toward  me.  When  they  got  within  a  few 
feet  of  me,  with  the  heads  of  our  horses  in  the  same  direc- 


tion,  they  reined  up  their  ponies  and  the  brave  suddenly 
drew  his  bow  at  full  bend,  with  a  sharp-pointed  steel  in  the 
end  of  the  arrow.  He  aimed  at  my  heart  with  the  most 
murderous,  vindictive,  and  devilish  look  on  his  face  and 
from  his  eyes  that  I  ever  saw  portrayed  on  any  living  face 
before  or  since.  Of  course  there  was  no  time  for  doing 
anything  but  to  keep  my  eye  steadfast  on  his.  To  show 
the  influence  of  the  mind  over  the  body,  while  he  was  point- 
ing the  arrow  at  me  I  felt  a  place  as  large  as  the  palm  of 
my  hand  cramping  where  the  arrow  would  have  struck  me 
had  he  shot.  While  in  this  position  he  pronounced  the 
word  "  say  "  with  all  the  force  he  could  summon.  I  did 
not  at  that  time  understand  what  he  meant.  The  chief 
relieved  my  suspense  by  holding  up  his  ten  fingers  and 
pointing  to  the  oxen.  I  then  understood  that  if  I  gave 
him  ten  of  my  animals  he  would  not  put  the  dart  through 
me.  I  felt  that  I  could  not  spare  that  number  and  move 
on  with  my  train  to  its  destination,  and  in  a  country  where 
I  had  not  the  opportunity  of  obtaining  others,  so  I  refused. 
He  then  threw  up  five  fingers  and  motioned  to  the  cattle. 
Again  I  shook  my  head.  He  then  motioned  me  to  say  how 
many  I  would  give,  and  I  held  up  one  finger.  The  moment 
I  did  so  he  gave  the  word  of  command  to  his  braves,  who 
were  still  dancing  and  screaming  round  the  cattle,  and 
they,  whirling  into  line,  selected  one  of  the  animals  so 
quickly  that  one  had  hardly  time  to  think,  and  left  thirty- 
three  of  the  oxen  and  myself  standing  in  the  prairie.  I  had 
held  them  there  so  long,  refusing  to  let  them  go  without 
following  them,  I  think  they  were  afraid  some  of  my  party 
would  overtake  me.  There  was  no  danger  of  that  had  they 
only  known  it,  for  on  my  return  I  found  all  my  men  at  the 
wagons  wondering  what  had  become  of  me.  I  had  left  the 
camp  at  daylight  and  it  was  after  noon  when  I  returned. 
In  conclusion,  I  will  say  that  never  at  any  time  in  my 


life,  and  I  have  encountered  a  great  many  dangers,  have  I 
felt  so  small  and  helpless  as  upon  this  occasion,  being  sur- 
rounded by  twenty-five  or  thirty  armed  savages  and  with 
whom  I  could  communicate  only  by  signs.  To  surrender 
the  animals  to  them  was  financial  ruin,  and  to  stay  with 
them  was  hazarding  my  life  and  receiving  the  grossest 
abuse  and  insults.  The  effect  of  passing  through  this 
ordeal,  on  my  mind,  was  that  I  became  so  reduced  in  stat- 
ure, I  felt  as  if  I  was  no  larger  than  my  thumb,  a  humming- 
bird or  a  mouse;  all  three  passed  through  my  mind,  and  I 
actually  looked  at  myself  to  see  if  it  was  possible  I  was  so 

No  one  can  tell,  until  he  has  been  overpowered  by  hos- 
tile savages,  how  small  he  will  become  in  his  own  estima- 
tion. However,  when  they  left  me,  I  at  once  came  back 
to  my  natural  size  and  felt  as  if  a  great  weight  had  been 
lifted  from  me. 

Although  the  Indians  were  nothing  more  nor  less  than 
specimens  of  nature's  sons,  without  any  education  what- 
ever of  a  literary  nature,  they  were  very  shrewd  and  quick 
to  see  and  take  up  an  insult.  They  were  remarkable  for 
reading  faces,  and  although  they  were  not  able  to  under- 
stand one  word  of  English,  they  could  tell  when  looking 
at  a  white  man  and  his  comrades  when  in  conversation 
about  them,  almost  precisely  what  they  were  saying  by  the 
shadows  that  would  pass  over  their  faces,  and  by  the  nod- 
ding of  heads  and  movement  of  hands  or  shoulders,  for  the 
reason  that  they  talked  with  each  other  and  the  different 
tribes  that  they  would  meet  by  signs,  and  it  was  done  gen- 
erally by  the  movement  of  the  hands. 

They  had  but  few  vices,  in  fact  might  say  almost  none 
outside  of  their  religious  teachings,  which  allowed  them  to 
steal  horses  and  fur  skins,  and  sometimes  take  the  lives  of 
enemies  or  opposing  tribes.     Persons  who  were  not  thor- 


oughly  acquainted  with  Indian  character  and  life  might 
wonder  why  there  were  so  many  different  tribes — or  bands, 
as  they  were  sometimes  called — and  if  it  could  be  there  were 
so  many  nationalities  among  them.  This  is  accounted  for 
solely  and  truly  upon  the  fact  that  when  a  tribe  grew  to  a 
certain  number  it  became  a  necessity  in  nature  for  them  to 
divide,  which  would  form  two  bands  or  tribes  and  at  that 
point  of  time  and  condition  it  became  necessary  for  the 
one  leaving  the  main  tribe  to  have  a  name  to  designate 
themselves  from  the  family  that  they  had  of  necessity 
parted  from,  for  as  soon  as  a  tribe  reached  such  a  propor- 
tion in  numbers  that  it  was  inconvenient  for  them  to  ren- 
dezvous at  some  given  point  easy  of  access,  their  necessi- 
ties in  such  cases  demanded  a  new  deal  or  different 
arrangements;  hence  the  different  names  by  which  tribes 
were  called. 

These  tribes  differed  in  their  methods  of  living  according 
to  the  conditions  with  which  they  were  surrounded.  Indians 
who  lived  along  the  Atlantic  Coast  and  made  their  living 
from  fishing,  as  well  as  from  hunting,  were  very  different 
from  the  Indians  of  the  plains  and  Rocky  Mountain  regions, 
who  live  almost  solely  upon  buffalo  and  other  varieties  of 
game  that  they  were  able  to  secure. 

The  Indians  from  the  Atlantic  and  Mississippi  valleys 
were  more  dangerous,  as  a  rule,  when  they  came  into  a  com- 
bat with  white  soldiers,  than  were  the  Indians  of  the  plains 
and  Rockies.  The  Shawnee  and  Delaware  Indian  braves 
a  hundred  years  ago,  when  my  grandfather  was  an  Indian 
fighter  in  Kentucky,  were  considered  equal  to  any  white 
soldiers  and  proved  themselves  in  battle  to  be  so.  Their 
mode  of  warfare,  however,  was  not  on  horseback,  as  was 
the  mode  of  warfare  with  the  Indians  of  the  plains.  They 
were  "still"  hunters,  as  they  might  be  called,  and  when 
they  met  with  white  men  in  battle  array,  would  get  behind 

AN    ADVENTURE    Vv';;:i    INDIANS.  l.'J5 

trees,  if  possible,  as  a  protection,  and  remain  and  fight  to 
the  bitter  end.  WHeh  these  tribes  became  overpowered,  it 
was  easy,  compared  with  the  Indians  of  the  plains,  to  bring 
them  under  some  of  the  conditions  of  civilization;  therefore 
the  Cherokees,  Seminoles,  Chickasaws,  Choctaws,  Shawnees, 
Delawares,  Wyandottes,  Kickapoos,  Sacs,  Foxes,  the 
Creeks,  and  many  others  whose  names  I  can  not  now  recall, 
have  become  somewhat  civilized,  and  many  of  them  semi- 
civilized  tribes,  but  the  Indians  of  the  plains  and  Rocky 
Mountain  regions  have  been  very  slow  to  accept  what  we 
term  civilization.  They  seem  somewhat  like  the  buffalo 
and  other  wild  animals  that  we  have  never  been  able  to 
domesticate.  It  looks  to  one  like  myself  that  has  known 
them  for  so  many  years,  that  before  they  are  civilized  they 
will  become  almost  exterminated;  that  is  to  say  that  civil- 
ized life  does  not  agree  with  them,  and  they  die  from 
causes  and  conditions  that  such  life  compels  them  to  exist 
under,  and  in  my  opinion  the  day  will  come  when  there 
will  be  few,  if  any,  in  the  near  future,  left  of  the  tribes  that 
were  known  to  belong  to  the  territory  west  of  the  Missis- 
sippi River  and  extending  to  the  Pacific  Coast.  There 
was  often  among  the  wildest  tribes  of  America  many  good 
traits.  If  they  found  you  hungry  and  alone  and  in  distress, 
as  a  rule  they  would  take  care  of  you,  giving  you  the  very 
best  they  had,  and  never  with  a  view  of  charging  you  for 
their  kindness.  If  they  had  a  grudge  against  the  white 
race  for  some  misdemeanor  some  white  man  may  have  com- 
mitted, they  might  kill  you  in  retaliation..  For  this  reason 
white  men  always  felt,  when  they  were  among  them,  that 
their  safety  depended  largely  upon  how  the  tribe  had  been 
treated  by  some  other  white  man,  or  party  of  white  men. 
As  far  as  I  know,  throughout  the  entire  savage  tribes  retal- 
iation is  one  of  the  laws  by  which  they  are  governed.  The 
women,  as  a  rule,  were  very  generous  and  kind-hearted, 


and  I  know  of  one  case  where  a  friend  of  mine,  Judge 
Brown  of  Pettis  County,  Mo.,  had  his  life  saved  and  his 
property  restored  to  him  through  the  instrumentality  of  an 
Indian  woman.  The  Indians  were  at  that  time  quite  hos- 
tile toward  the  whites,  and  had  held  council  and  determined 
to  kill  him,  as  they  had  him  a  prisoner  and  at  their  mercy. 
This  woman  seemed  to  be  one  of  great  influence  in  the 
tribe,  and  when  the  braves  held  their  council  and  decided 
to  take  his  life  and  property,  she  rose  to  her  feet  and 
plead  for  the  life  of  my  friend.  Of  course  he  could  not 
understand  a  word  she  said,  but  he  saw  in  her  face  a 
benevolence  and  kindness  that  gave  him  heart,  for  he  had 
about  despaired  of  ever  living  another  hour.  From  the 
way  in  which  she  looked,  talked,  and  gestured,  he  felt  cer- 
tain that  she  was  assuming  his  cause,  and  he  in  relating 
the  circumstances  to  me  and  others  said  he  never  saw  a 
greater  heroine  in  the  appearance  and  conduct  of  any 
woman  in  his  life.  Of  course  this  he  had  to  judge  largely 
of  from  appearances,  as  the  Indians  judge  of  the  white 
people  that  I  before  alluded  to. 



Everything  worked  along  smoothly  on.  my  westward 
way,  after  my  adventure  with  the  Indians,  until  I  reached 
Walnut  Creek,  at  the  Big  Bend  of  the  Arkansas  River.  At 
that  point  the  buffalo,  running  past  my  herd  of  oxen  in  the 
night,  scattered  them,  part  running  with  the  buffalo  and 
crossing  the  river  where  it  was  very  high,  it  being  the  sea- 
son of  the  year  when  the  channel  was  full  of  water,  from 
the  melting  of  the  snow  in  the  mountains  from  which  it 
received  its  waters.  The  next  morning,  as  before,  at  the 
One  Hundred  and  Ten,  I  found  a  portion  of  my  herd 
missing,  but  not  so  many  this  time  as  to  prevent  me  from 
traveling.  I  had  the  teams  hitched  up,  some  of  them  being 
a  yoke  of  oxen  minus,  but  sufficient  remained  to  move 
the  wagons,  and  I  started  my  assistant,  Mr.  Samuel  Poteet, 
one  of  the  most  faithful  of  my  men,  on  the  road  with  the 
teams,  and  I  took  my  extra  man  to  hunt  for  the  missing 
oxen.  We  crossed  the  river  where  it  was  almost  at  swim- 
ming point  and  at  the  place  where  the  buffalo  had  crossed 
the  night  before,  for  we  had  followed  their  trail  for  several 
miles.  After  losing  the  trail,  for  they  had  so  scattered  we 
could  not  tell  which  trail  to  take,  we  wandered  around  for 
a  time  in  the  open  prairie,  expecting  Indians  to  appear  at 
any  moment;  but  in  that  we  were  happily  disappointed. 
I  finally  found  my  cattle  all  standing  in  a  huddle  near  a 
pond.  We  soon  surrounded  them  and  started  driving  them 
to  the  river,  crossed  them  and  reached  the  road,  following 
the  train,  until  we  overtook  it  a  little  before  sundown  that 



evening.  From  that  point  there  was  nothing  to  trouble  * 
or  disturb  our  movements  until  we  reached  the  Wagon 
Mounds,  beyond  the  borders  of  New  Mexico,  now  a  station 
upon  the  Atchison,  Topeka  &  Santa  Fe  Railroad.  There 
we  came  upon  the  ruins  of  a  stage-coach  which  had  been 
burned;  the  bones  and  skeletons  of  some  of  the  horses  that 
drew  it,  as  well  as  the  bones  of  the  party  of  ten  men  who 
were  murdered  outright  by  the  Indians.  Not  one  escaped 
to  tell  the  story,  and  they  were,  I  think,  a  party  of  ten  as 
brave  men  as  could  be  found  anywhere.  Whether  there 
were  any  Indians  killed  while  they  were  massacring  this 
party  is  not  known,  for  it  was  some  few  days  before 
the  news  of  the  affair  was  known,  as  there  was  little  travel 
over  the  road  at  that  season  of  the  year. 

This  party  had  passed  me  on  the  road  some  weeks  before, 
and  being  able  to  travel  three  times  as  far  per  day  as  I 
could,  had  reached  the  point  of  their  fate  several  weeks 
before,  so  we  could  see  nothing  but  the  bones  the  wolves 
had  scratched  out  of  the  ground  where  they  had  been 
buried.  In  fact  there  was  nothing  to  bury  when  we  found 
them.  The  wolves  would  not  even  let  them  lie  at  rest.  It 
seemed  there  was  no  flesh  the  wolves  could  get  hold  of 
they  were  so  fond  of  as  the  flesh  of  an  American  or  white 
man,  and,  strange  to  say,  they  would  not  eat  a  Mexican  at 
all.  It  frequently  happened  that  when  the  Indians  killed 
a  party  on  the  Santa  F6  Road  there  were  both  Mexicans 
and  Americans  left  dead  upon  the  same  spot.  When  found 
the  bodies  of  the  Americans  would  invariably  be  eaten,  and 
the  bodies  of  the  Mexicans  lying  intact  without  any  inter- 
ference at  all. 

There  were  various  speculations  with  travelers  along  that 
road  as  to  why  this  was  so.  Some  thought  it  was  because 
the  Mexicans  were  so  saturated  with  red  pepper,  they  mak- 
ing  that    a    part   of    their   diet.     Others   thought   it   was 


because  they  were  such  inveterate  smokers  and  were  always 
smoking  cigarettes.  I  have  no  suggestions  to  make  on  the 
subject  any  further  than  to  say  such  was  a  fact,  and  there 
are  many  American  boys  to-day  who  would  not  be  eaten 
by  wolves,  so  impregnated  are  they  with  nicotine. 

After  passing  this  gloomy  spot  at  the  Wagon  Mounds, 
which  almost  struck  terror  to  our  hearts  to  see  the  bones 
of  our  fellow-men  who  had  been  swept  away  by  the  hand 
of  the  savages,  without  a  moment's  warning,  we  pursued 
our  way  to  Santa  F6,  N.  M.,  and  delivered  my  freight 
to  the  merchants.  They  paid  me  the  cash,  $13,000  in 
silver — Mexican  dollars — for  freighting  their  goods  to  that 
point,  a  distance  of  800  miles  from  the  place  of  loading  at 
Kansas  City,  Mo.  I  returned  home  without  any  further 
drawbacks  or  molestations  on  that  trip. 

On  arriving  home  I  found  that  Maj.  E.  A.  Ogden  of  Fort 
Leavenworth  desired  to  send  a  load  of  Government  freight 
to  Fort  Mann,  400  miles  west  on  the  same  road  I  had  just 
traveled  over,  at  about  the  point  on  the  Arkansas  River 
where  Fort  Dodge  now  stands.  I  agreed  with  him  on  terms 
at  once,  and  loaded  my  wagons  for  that  point.  Lieutenant 
Heath  of  the  United  States  Army  was  in  command  of  the 
litttle  post  at  Fort  Mann.  I  arrived  in  good  time,  with 
everything  in  good  order,  and  when  the  Government 
freights  were  unloaded  he  expressed  a  desire  that  I  should 
take  my  entire  train  and  go  south  about  twenty-five  miles, 
where  there  was  some  large  timber  growing  near  a  stream 
called  Cottonwood,  for  the  purpose  of  bringing  him  a  lot 
of  saw-logs  to  make  lumber  for  the  building  of  his  post.  A 
more  gentlemanly  or  clever  man  I  never  met  in  the  United 
States  Army  or  out  of  it — thoroughly  correct  in  his  dealings, 
and  kind  and  courteous  as  could  be.  I  made  the  trip  and 
brought  him  a  fine  lot  of  cottonwood  and  walnut  saw-logs, 
for  these  were  the  only  kinds  of  timber  that  grew  along  the 


stream,  unloaded  them  at  his  camp  and  returned  home 
without  losing  any  men  or  animals.  The  men  were  all  in 
fine  health  and  good  spirits,  as  men  generally  are  when 
everything  moves  successfully  in  their  business,  and  partic- 
ularly a  business  which  hangs  upon  so  many  contingencies 
as  our  trips  across  the  plains  did. 

In  the  year  185 1  I  again  crossed  the  plains  with  a  full 
outfit  of  twenty-five  wagons  and  teams.  This  trip  was  a 
complete  success;  we  met  with  no  molestations,  and 
returned  home  without  the  loss  of  any  animals,  but,  owing 
to  the  cholera  prevailing  to  some  extent  among  the  men  who 
were  on  the  plains,  I  lost  two  men  by  that  disease.  Sev- 
eral would  have  died,  perhaps,  but  for  the  fact  thai  I  had 
provided  myself  with  the  proper  remedies  before  leaving 
Kansas  City.  In  1852  I  corraled  my  wagons,  sold  my 
oxen  to  California  emigrants,  and  did  no  more  work  upon 
the  plains  that  year.  In  1853  I  bought  a  new  supply  of 
work-cattle  and  again  loaded  my  wagons  at  Kansas  City  for 
Santa  Fe,  N.  M.,  as  I  had  previously  been  doing.  I  was  very 
successful  in  my  operations  that  year,  meeting  with  no  loss 
of  men  and  no  animals  worth  mentioning.  I  also  made  a 
second  trip  that  year  from  Fort  Leavenworth  to  Fort  Union, 
in  New  Mexico,  returning  to  my  home  near  Westport,  Mo., 
late  in  November.  During  the  year  1854  I  also  went  upon 
the  plains  as  a  freighter,  changing  my  business  from 
freighting  for  the  merchants  in  New  Mexico  to  carrying 
United  States  Government  freights.  At  this  time  I  added 
to  my  transportation,  making  100  wagons  and  teams  for 
that  year,  divided  into  four  trains.  Everything  moved 
along  this  year  in  a  most  prosperous  way,  without  loss  of 
life  among  my  men,  but  I  lost  a  great  many  of  my  work- 
cattle  on  account  of  the  Texas  fever.  The  loss  was  not  so 
great,  however,  as  to  impede  my  traveling.  The  Govern- 
ment officers  with  whom  I  came  in  contact  at  either  end  of 


the  route  were  well  pleased  with  my  way  of  doing  business 
as  a  freighter,  for  everything  was  done  in  the  most  prompt 
and  business-like  manner. 

In  1855  W.  H.  Russell  of  Lexington,  Mo.,  and  I  formed 
a  partnership  under  the  name  and  style  of  Majors  &  Rus- 
sell. That  year  we  carried  all  the  Government  freight 
that  had  to  be  sent  from  Fort  Leavenworth  to  the  different 
posts  or  forts.  The  cholera  prevailed  among  our  men  that 
year.  Not  more  than  two  or  three  died,  however,  but 
quite  a  delay  and  additional  expense  were  caused  on 
account  of  this  dire  disease  among  our  teamsters,  with  a 
train  load  of  freight  for  Fort  Riley.  This  was  in  June, 
and  the  train  was  almost  deserted.  Another  train  was 
entirely  deserted,  the  sick  men  being  taken  to  some  of  the 
farmers  in  the  neighborhood,  the  well  ones  leaving  for  their 
homes,  our  oxen  scattering  and  going  toward  almost  every 
point  of  the  compass.  It  was  not  long,  however,  until  we 
got  straightened  again,  and  the  train  started  for  its  desti- 

Not  long  after  this  Maj.  A.  E.  Ogden,  the  United  States 
quartermaster  at  Fort  Leavenworth,  was  taken  with  the 
cholera,  and  died  at  Fort  Riley.  A  more  honest,  straight- 
forward, and  Christian  gentleman  could  not  be  found  in 
any  army,  or  out  of  it.  He  had  more  excellent  qualities 
than  are  generally  allotted  to  man,  and  his  death  was  much 
mourned  by  all  who  had  the  pleasure  of  his  acquaintance. 
He  left  a  very  estimable  wife  and  several  children  to  mourn 
his  death. 

After  the  cholera  disappeared  that  year,  the  freighting 
business  moved  along  nicely  and  resulted  in  a  prosperous 
year's  work,  after  all  the  drawbacks  in  the  early  part  of  the 

We  also  did  a  large  business  in  freighting  in  1856.  I 
think  that  year  we  had  about  three  hundred  to  three  nun- 


dred  and  fifty  wagons  and  teams  at  work,  and  our  profits 
for  1855  and  1856  footed  up  about  three  hundred  thousand 
dollars.  This  sum  included  our  wagons,  oxen,  and  other 
freighting  and  transportation  outfits,  valuing  them  at  what 
we  thought  they  would  bring  the  beginning  of  the  freight- 
ing season  the  next  year. 

In  1857  the  Government  extended  the  contract  to  Majors 
&  Russell  for  one  year  longer,  and  it  was  during  this  year 
the  United  States  Government  determined  to  send  an  army 
to  Utah  to  curtail  the  power  that  Brigham  Young  was 
extending  over  the  destiny  of  that  country;  many  com- 
plaints having  reached  Washington  through  the  Govern- 
ment officials  who  had  been  sent  to  the  Territory  to  preside 
as  judges  in  the  United  States  Courts.  This  resulted  in  a 
very  great  increase  of  transportation  that  year,  and  great 
difficulties  were  encountered,  to  begin  with,  which  required 
quite  an  increase  in  the  facilities  for  transportation,  which 
had  to  be  very  hurriedly  brought  together.  Before  all  the 
Government  freight  reached  Fort  Leavenworth,  it  became 
too  late  for  trains  to  reach  the  headquarters  of  the  army 
before  cold  weather  set  in,  in  the  high  altitude  of  Fort 
Bridger  and  that  portion  of  the  country  where  the  army 
was  in  winter  quarters;  therefore  many  of  the  animals 
perished  on  account  of  having  to  be  kept,  under  army  orders, 
where  grass  and  water  were  sometimes  scarce,  and  they 
suffered  more  or  less  from  severe  cold  weather.  The  result 
was  great  loss  of  the  work-animals  and  an  entire  loss  of 
the  previous  two  years'  profits. 

A  party  of  Mormons,  under  command  of  Col.  Lott  Smith, 
had  been  sent  out  by  the  Mormon  authorities  in  the  rear  of 
Johnston's  army  to  cut  off  his  supplies.  They  captured  and 
burned  three  of  our  trains,  two  on  the  Sandy,  just  east  of 
Green  River,  and  one  on  the  west  bank  of  Green  River. 
They  gave  the  captain  of  each  train  the  privilege  of  taking 


one  of  his  best  wagons  and  teams  and  loading  it  with  sup- 
plies, to  return  home  or  back  to  the  starting  point.  They 
committed  no  outrage  whatever  toward  the  men,  and,  as  soon 
as  the  captain  of  each  train  told  them  he  had  all  the  food 
necessary  to  supply  him  to  get  back  to  the  starting  point, 
they  told  him  to  abandon  the  train,  and  they  were  set  on 
fire  and  everything  burned  that  was  consumable.  The  cap- 
tains of  the  trains,  with  their  teamsters,  returned  to  the 
States  in  safety.  The  cattle  were  driven  off  by  the  Mor- 
mons, and  those  that  were  not  used  for  beef  by  the  hungry 
men  were  returned  in  the  summer  to  the  company  after 
peace  had  been  made  between  the  Mormons  and  the  Gov- 
ernment. The  loss  to  the  army  was  about  five  hundred 
thousand  pounds  of  Government  supplies.  This  loss  put 
the  army  upon  short  rations  for  that  winter  and  spring, 
until  they  could  be  reached  with  supplies  in  the  spring  of 

That  spring,  our  firm,  under  the  name  of  Russell, 
Majors  &  Waddell,  obtained  a  new  contract  from  the 
United  States  Government  to  carry  Government  freight  to 
Utah  for  the  years  1858-59.  That  year  the  Government 
ordered  an  immense  lot  of  freight,  aggregating  16,000,000 
pounds,  most  of  which  had  to  be  taken  to  Utah.  We  had 
to  increase  the  transportation  from  three  or  four  hundred 
wagons  and  teams  we  had  previously  owned  to  3,500  wagons 
and  teams,  and  it  required  more  than  forty  thousand  oxen  to 
draw  the  supplies;  we  also  employed  over  four  thousand 
men  and  about  one  thousand  mules. 

Our  greatest  drawback  that  year  was  occasioned  by  floods 
and  heavy  rains  upon  the  plains,  which  made  our  trains 
move  tardily  in  the  outset.  We  succeeded  admirably,  how- 
ever, considering  the  vast  amount  of  material  we  had  to 
get  together  and  organize,  which  we  could  not  have  done 
had  we  not  had  so  many  years'  experience,  previous  to  this 


great  event,  in  the  freighting  enterprise;  and  especially  was 
this  so  with  me,  for  I  had  had,  previous  to  this,  a  great 
many  years'  experience  in  handling  men  and  teams,  even 
before  I  crossed  the  plains  ten  years  before.  We  succeeded 
this  year  in  carrying  everything  to  the  army  in  Utah,  fifty 
miles  south  of  Salt  Lake  City,  to  Camp  Floyd,  the  head- 
quarters of  Sidney  Johnston's  command,  a  distance  of 
1,250  miles. 

After  unloading  the  wagons  at  Camp  Floyd,  they  were 
taken  to  Salt  Lake  City  and  placed  as  near  as  they  could 
stand  to  each  other  in  the  suburbs  of  the  city,  and  covered 
many  acres  of  ground,  where  they  remained  for  one  year 
or  more,  when  our  agent  sold  them  to  the  Mormon  author- 
ities for  $10  apiece,  they  having  cost  us  at  the  manufacturers' 
$150  to  $175  apiece.  The  Mormons  used  the  iron  about 
them  for  the  manufacture  of  nails.  The  oxen  we  sent  to 
Skull  Valley  and  other  valleys  near  Camp  Floyd,  known  to 
be  good  winter  quarters  for  cattle  and  mules.  During  the 
year  1859,  while  our  teams  were  at  Camp  Floyd  we  selected 
3,500  head  as  suitable  to  drive  to  California  and  put  on  the 
market,  and  they  were  driven  to  Ruby  Valley,  in  Nevada, 
where  it  was  intended  they  should  remain,  that  being  con- 
sidered a  favorable  winter  locality;  and  in  the  spring  of 
i860  they  were  to  be  driven  to  California,  the  intention 
being  to  let  them  graze  on  the  wild  oats  and  clover  in  the 
valleys  of  the  Sacramento,  and  convert  them  into  beef- 
cattle  when  fully  ready  for  the  market.  A  very  few  days 
after  the  herders  reached  the  valley  with  them,  which  was 
late  in  November,  a  snow-storm  set  in  and  continued  more 
or  less  severe,  at  intervals,  until  it  covered  the  ground  to 
such  a  depth  that  it  was  impossible  for  the  cattle  to  get 
a  particle  of  subsistence,  and  in  less  than  forty  days  after 
the  animals  were  turned  out  in  the  valley  they  were  lying 
in  great  heaps  frozen  and  starved  to  death.     Only  200 


out  of  the  3,500  survived  the  storm.  They  were  worth  at 
the  time  they  were  turned  into  the  valley  about  $150,000, 
as  they  were  a  very  superior  and  select  lot  of  oxen.  This 
was  the  largest  disaster  we  met  with  during  the  years  1858 
and  1859. 

In  1857  the  Indians  attacked  the  herders  who  had  charge 
of  about  one  thousand  head  on  the  Platte  River,  west  of  Fort 
Kearney,  which  is  now  called  Kearney  City,  in  Nebraska, 
killing  one  of  the  herders  and  scattering  the  cattle  to  the 
four  winds.     These  were  also  a  complete  loss. 

We  had  very  little  trouble  with  the  Indians  in  1857,  1858, 
and  1859  in  any  way,  owing  to  the  fact  that  Johnston's  army, 
consisting  of  about  five  thousand  regulars,  besides  the  team- 
sters, making  in  all  about  seven  thousand  well-armed  men, 
had  passed  through  the  country  in  1857,  and  they  had  seen 
such  a  vast  army,  with  their  artillery,  that  they  were  com- 
pletely intimidated,  and  stayed  at  a  very  respectful  distance 
from  the  road  on  which  this  vast  number  of  wagons  and 
teams  traveled.  Each  one  of  our  wagons  was  drawn  by 
six  yoke,  or  twelve  oxen,  and  contained  from  five  to  six 
thousand  pounds  of  freight,  and  there  was  but  one  wagon 
to  each  team.  The  time  had  not  yet  come  when,  what 
was  afterward  adopted,  trail  wagons  were  in  use.  This 
means  two  or  three  wagons  lashed  together  and  drawn  by 
one  team.  Twenty-five  of  our  wagons  and  teams  formed 
what  was  called  a  train,  and  these  trains  were  scattered 
along  the  road  at  intervals  of  anywhere  from  two  to  three 
miles,  and  sometimes  eight  to  ten  miles,  and  even  greater 
distances,  so  as  to  keep  out  of  the  way  of  each  other. 

The  road,  until  we  reached  the  South  Fass,  was  over  the 
finest  line  of  level  country  for  traveling  by  wagons,  with 
plenty  of  water  and  grass  at  almost  every  step  of  the  way. 
Crossing  the  South  Platte  at  what  was  then  called  Jules- 
burg,  and  going  across  the  divide  to  North  Platte,  at  Ash 


Hollow,  we  continued  in  the  valley  of  the  North  Platte  to 
the  mouth  of  the  Sweetwater,  and  up  that  stream  until 
we  passed  through  the  South  Pass.  After  passing  that 
point  it  was  somewhat  more  difficult  to  find  grass  and 
water,  but  we  were  fortunate  enough  all  along  the  road  to 
get  sufficient  subsistence  out  of  nature  for  the  sustenance 
of  our  animals,  and  were  not  obliged  to  feed  our  oxen. 
They  did  the  work  allotted  to  them,  and  gathered  their 
own  living  at  nights  and  noon-times. 

In  the  fall  of  1857  a  report  was  sent  by  the  engineers  who 
were  with  General  Johnston's  army  at  Fort  Bridger,  and  who 
had  crossed  the  plains  that  year,  to  the  Quartermaster's 
Department  at  Washington,  stating  it  was  impossible  to 
find  subsistence  along  the  road  for  the  number  of  animals 
it  would  require  to  transport  the  freight  necessary  for  the 
support  of  the  army.  General  Jessup,  who  was  then  Quar- 
termaster of  the  United  States  Army  at  Washington,  and 
as  fine  a  gentleman  as  I  ever  met,  gave  me  this  informa- 
tion, and  asked  me  if  it  would  deter  me  from  undertaking 
the  transportation.  I  told  him  it  would  not,  and  that  I 
would  be  willing  to  give  him  my  head  for  a  foot-ball  to 
have  kicked  in  Pennsylvania  Avenue  if  I  did  not  supply 
the  army  with  every  pound  that  was  necessary  for  its  sub- 
sistence, provided  the  Government  would  pay  me  to  do  it. 
We  satisfied  him  after  the  first  year's  work  had  been  done 
that  we  could  do  even  more  than  I  assured  him  could  be 

There  is  no  other  road  in  the  United  States,  nor  in  my 
opinion  elsewhere,  of  the  same  length,  where  such  numbers 
of  men  and  animals  could  travel  during  the  summer  season 
as  could  over  the  thoroughfare  from  the  Missouri  River  up 
the  Platte  and  its  tributaries  to  the  Rocky  Mountains.  In 
fact,  had  it  been  necessary  to  go  east  from  the  Missouri 
River,  instead  of  west,  it  would  have  been  impossible  in 


the  nature  of  things  to  have  done  so,  owing  to  the  uneven 
surface  of  the  country,  the  water  being  in  little  deep  ravines 
and,  as  a  rule,  in  small  quantities,  often  muddy  creeks  to 
cross,  at  other  times  underbrush  and  timber  that  the  ani- 
mals could  have  roamed  into  and  disappeared,  all  of  which 
would  have  prevented  progress  had  we  started  with  such 
an  enterprise  east  instead  of  west.  But  the  country  west  of 
the  Missouri  River  for  hundreds  of  miles,  so  far  as  making 
roads  for  travel  of  large  numbers  of  animals  is  concerned,  is 
as  different  from  the  east  as  it  is  possible  for  two  landscapes 
to  be.  The  whole  country  from  the  west  border  of  the 
Missouri,  Iowa,  and  Arkansas  was  thoroughly  practical, 
before  inhabited  by  farmers,  for  carrying  the  very  largest 
herds  and  organizations  of  people  on  what  one  might  term 
perfectly  natural  ground,  often  being  able  to  travel  hun- 
dreds of  miles  toward  the  sunset  without  a  man  having  to 
do  one  hour's  work  in  order  to  prepare  the  road  for  the 
heaviest  wagons  and  teams. 

The  road  from  Missouri  to  Santa  F6,  N.  M.,  up  the 
Arkansas  River,  a  distance  of  800  miles,  was  very  much 
like  the  one  up  the  Platte  River,  and  over  which  millions 
of  pounds  of  merchandise  were  carried,  and  where  oxen 
almost  invariably,  but  sometimes  mules,  did  the  work  and 
subsisted  without  a  bite  of  any  other  food  than  that  ob- 
tained from  the  grasses  that  grew  by  the  roadside. 

The  roads  all  running  west  from  the  Missouri  River  came 
up  the  valleys  of  the  Platte,  Kansas,  or  Arkansas  rivers, 
running  directly  from  the  mountains  to  the  Missouri  River. 
These  rivers  had  wide  channels,  low  banks,  and  sandy  bot- 
toms, into  which  a  thousand  animals  could  go  at  one  time, 
if  necessary,  for  drink,  and  spread  over  the  surface,  so  as 
not  to  be  in  each  other's  way,  and  whatever  disturbance 
they  made  in  the  water,  in  the  way  of  offal  or  anything  of 
that  kind,  was  soon  overcome  by  the  filtering  of  the  water 


through  the  sand,  which  kept  it  pure,  and  thousands  of  men 
and  animals  could  find  purer  water  on  account  of  these 

Then  again  the  first  expedient  in  the  way  of  fuel  was 
what  was  called  buffalo  chips,  which  was  the  offal  from  the 
buffalo  after  lying  and  being  dried  by  the  sun;  and,  strange 
to  say,  the  economy  of  nature  was  such,  in  this  particular, 
that  the  large  number  of  work-animals  left  at  every  camp- 
ing-place fuel  sufficient,  after  being  dried  by  the  sun,  to 
supply  the  necessities  of  the  next  caravan  or  party  that 
traveled  along.  In  this  way  the  fuel  supply  was  inexhaust- 
ible while  animals  traveled  and  fed  upon  the  grasses. 

This,  however,  did  not  apply  to  travel  east  of  the  Mis- 
souri River,  as  the  offal  from  the  animals  there  soon  became 
decomposed  and  was  entirely  worthless  for  fuel  purposes. 
This  was  altogether  owing  to  the  difference  in  the  grasses 
that  grew  west  of  the  Missouri  River  on  the  plains  and  in 
the  Rocky  Mountains  and  that  which  grew  in  the  States  east  of 
the  Missouri.  Thus  the  fuel  supply  was  sufficient  for  the 
largest  organizations  of  people  who,  in  those  days,  were 
traveling  on  the  plains.  Armies,  small  and  great,  that  found 
it  necessary  to  cross  the  plains,  found  sufficient  supply  of 
this  fuel,  and  it  seemed  to  be  a  necessity  supplied  by  nature 
on  the  vast  open  and  untimbered  plains  lying  between  the 
Missouri  River  and  the  Rocky  Mountains,  far  beyond  the 
Canadian  line  to  the  north,  without  which  it  would  have 
been  practically  impossible  to  have  crossed  the  plains  with 
any  degree  of  comfort,  and  in  cold  weather  would  have  been 
absolutely  impossible. 

The  small  groups  of  timber  growing  along  the  streams 
would  soon  have  been  exhausted  if  used  for  fuel,  and  there 
would  have  been  nothing  to  supply  those  who  came  later. 

History  records  no  other  instance  of  like  nature,  where 
an  immense  area  of  country  had  the  same  necessity  and 


where  that  necessity  was  supplied  in  such  a  manner  as  on 
the  vast  plains  west  of  the  Missouri  River.  These  chips 
would  lay  for  several  years  in  perfect  condition  for  fuel. 


"the  jayhawkers  of  1849." 

In  this  year  a  number  of  gentlemen  made  up  a  party 
and  started  for  the  far  West.  During  that  fearful  journey 
they  were  lost  for  three  months  in  the  "  Great  American 
Desert,"  the  region  marked  on  the  map  as  the  "  unexplored 
region."  General  Fremont,  with  all  the  patronage  of  the 
Government  at  his  command,  tried  to  cross  this  desert  at 
several  points,  but  failed  in  every  attempt.  This  desert  is 
bounded  by  the  Rocky  Mountains  and  Wasatch  range  on  the 
east  and  the  Sierra  Nevada  on  the  west.  From  either  side 
running  streams  sink  near  the  base  of  the  mountains,  and 
no  water  exists  except  alkali  and  the  hot  springs  impreg- 
nated with  nitre. 

The  party  arrived  at  Salt  Lake  late  in  the  season  of  '49. 
It  was  thought  by  the  older  members  of  the  company  to 
be  too  late  to  cross  the  Sierra  Nevada  by  the  northern 
routes.  No  wagon  had  ever  made  the  trip  to  the  Pacific 
Coast  by  way  of  the  Spanish  Trail  from  Santa  Fe  to  the 
Pacific,  but  it  was  determined  to  undertake  this  perilous 
journey.  Captain  Hunt,  commander  of  the  Mormon  Bat- 
talion in  the  Mexican  War,  agreed  to  pilot  the  train  through 
to  Pueblo  de  los  Angeles  for  the  sum  of  $1,200.  The 
weather  south  being  too  warm  for  comfortable  travel,  the 
party  remained  in  Salt  Lake  City  two  months,  leaving  that 
place  October  3,  1849.  Upon  their  arrival  at  Little  Salt 
Lake,  a  few  restless  comrades,  angry  that  the  party  did  not 
go  through  by  the  northern  route,  formed  a  band  and 
determined  to  cross  the  desert  at  all  hazards,  and  thus  save 

"the  jayhawkers  of  1849."  151 

hundreds  of  miles'  travel  via  Los  Angeles  route.     The  suf- 
ferings they  endured  can  not  be  described. 

The  survivors  have  since  been  scattered  through  the 
country,  and  have  never  come  together  since  they  sepa- 
rated at  Santa  Barbara,  on  the  Pacific,  February  4,  1850, 
until  the  twenty-third  anniversary  of  their  arrival  was  cele- 
brated at  the  residence  of  Col.  John  B.  Colton.  The  fol- 
lowing letter  will  explain: 

Galesburg,  III.,  January  12,  1872. 
Dear  Sir:  You  are  invited  to  attend  a  reunion  of  the 
"  Jayhawkers  of  '49,"  on  the  5th  clay  of  February  next  at 
10  o'clock  in  the  forenoon,  at  my  house,  to  talk  over  old 
times  and  compare  notes,  after  the  lapse  of  twenty-three 
years  from  the  time  when  the  "  Jayhawkers  "  crossed  the 
"Great  American  Desert." 

In  the  event  that  you  can  not  be  present,  will  you  write 
a  letter  immediately  on  receipt  of  this,  to  be  read  on  that 
occasion,  giving  all  the  news  and  reminiscences  that  will 
be  of  interest  to  the  old  crowd? 

Yours  fraternally, 

John  B.  Colton. 

A  short  sketch  of  the  party's  wanderings  may  not  be 
amiss.  On  the  5th  of  April,  1849,  a  large  party  of  men, 
with  oxen  and  wagons,  started  from  Galesburg,  III.,  and 
vicinity  for  the  then  newly  discovered  gold-fields  of  Cal- 
ifornia. To  distinguish  their  party  from  other  parties  who 
went  the  same  year,  they  jestingly  took  the  name  of  "  Jay- 
hawkers," and  that  name  has  clung  to  them  through  all 
the  years  that  have  come  and  gone. 

They  encountered  no  trouble  until  after  leaving  Little 
Salt  Lake,  when  taking  the  directions  given  them  by  Indian 
Walker  and  Ward— old  mountaineers,  who  gave  them  a 
diagram  and  told  them  they  could  save  500  miles  to  the 
mines  in  California  by  taking  the  route  directed — the  Jay- 
hawkers branched  off  from  the  main  body.     They  found 


nothing  as  represented,  and  became  lost  en  the  desert, 
wandering  for  months,  traversing  the  whole  length  of  the 
Great  American  Desert,  which  Fremont,  with  all  the  aid  of 
the  Government  at  his  call,  could  not  cross  the  shortest 
way,  and  laid  it  down  on  the  map  as  the  "  unexplored 

They  cut  up  their  wagons  on  Silver  Mountain  and  made 
of  them  pack-saddles  for  their  cattle.  Here  thirteen  of 
their  number  branched  off,  on  New  Year's  day,  taking  what 
jerked  beef  they  could  carry,  and  started  due  west  over  the 
mountains,  which  the  main  party  could  not  do  on  account 
of  their  cattle,  but  when  they  came  to  a  mountain  they 
took  a  southerly  course  around  it.  Of  these  thirteen, 
but  two  lived  to  get  through,  and  they  were  found  by 
ranch  Indians  in  a  helpless  condition,  and  brought  in  and 
cared  for.  They  had  cast  lots  and  lived  on  each  other 
until  but  two  remained.  When  questioned  afterward  in 
regard  to  their  trip,  they  burst  into  tears  and  could  not  talk 
of  it. 

The  main  body  of  Jayhawkers  kept  their  cattle,  for  they 
were  their  only  hope;  on  these  they  lived,  and  the  cattle 
lived  on  the  bitter  sage-brush  and  grease-wood,  except  when 
they  occasionally  found  an  oasis  with  water  and  a  little 
grass  upon  it.  The  feet  of  the  cattle  were  worn  down  until 
the  blood  marked  their  every  step.  Then  the  boys  wrapped 
their  feet  in  raw  hides,  as  they  did  their  own.  Many  died 
from  exposure,  hunger,  and  thirst,  and  were  buried  in  the 
drifting  sands  where  they  fell,  while  those  who  were  left 
moved  on,  weak  and  tottering,  not  knowing  whose  turn 
would  be  next.  But  for  their  cattle,  not  a  man  could  have 
lived  through  that  awful  journey.  They  ate  the  hide,  the 
blood,  the  refuse,  and  picked  the  bones  in  camp,  making 
jerked  beef  of  the  balance  to  take  along  with  them. 
People  who  are  well  fed,  who  have  an  abundance  of  the 

"the  jayhawkers  of  1849."  153 

good  things  of  life,  say:  "I  would  not  eat  this;  I  would 
not  eat  that;  I'd  starve  first."  They  are  not  in  a  position 
to  judge.  Hunger  swallows  up  every  other  feeling,  and 
man  in  a  starving  condition  is  as  savage  as  a  wild  beast. 

After  many  desert  wanderings  and  untold  suffering, 
they  at  last  struck  a  low  pass  in  the  Sierra  Nevada  Mount- 
ains, and  emerged  suddenly  into  the  Santa  Clara  Valley, 
which  was  covered  with  grass  and  wild  oats  and  flowers, 
with  thousands  of  fat  cattle  feeding,  a  perfect  paradise  to 
those  famished  skeletons  of  men.  There  were  thirty-four 
of  the  party  who  lived  to  reach  that  valley,  and  every  one 
shed  tears  of  joy  at  the  sight  of  the  glorious  vision  spread 
before  them  and  the  suddenness  of  their  deliverance. 

The  boys  shot  five  head  of  the  cattle,  and  were  eating 
the  raw  flesh  and  fat  when  the  ranch  Indians,  hearing  the 
firing,  came  down  with  all  the  shooting  irons  they  could 
muster,  but  seeing  the  helpless  condition  of  the  party,  they 
rode  back  to  headquarters  and  reported  to  Francisco,  the 
Spaniard  who  owned  the  ranch  and  cattle.  He  came  down 
and  invited  them  to  camp  in  a  grove  near  his  home,  bade 
them  welcome,  and  furnished  the  party  with  meat,  milk, 
grain,  and  everything  they  needed,  and  kept  them  until 
they  were  recruited  and  able  to  go  on  their  way.  Verily, 
he  was  a  good  Samaritan.  They  were  strangers,  and  he 
took  them  in;  hungry,  and  he  fed  them;  thirsty,  and 
he  gave  them  drink.  In  the  grand  summing  up  of  all 
things,  may  the  noble  Francisco  be  rewarded  a  thousand- 

They  reached  the  Santa  Clara  Valley  the  4th  of  Febru- 
ary, 1850,  and  on  that  day  each  year  they  celebrate  their 
deliverance  by  a  reunion,  where  in  pleasant  companionship 
and  around  the  festive  board  they  recount  reminiscences 
of  the  past,  and  live  over  again  those  scenes,  when  young 
and  hopeful,  they  lived  and  suffered  together. 


There  are  but  eleven  of  the  survivors  of  that  party  alive 
to-day,  and  these  are  widely  scattered  east  of  the  Rocky 
Mountains  and  on  the  Pacific  Slope.  Some  are  old  men, 
too  feeble  to  travel,  and  can  only  be  present  in  spirit  and 
by  letter  at  the  annual  reunions.  Gladly  would  every  Jay- 
hawker  welcome  one  and  all  of  that  band,  bound  together 
by  ties  of  suffering  in  a  bond  of  brotherhood  which  naught 
but  death  can  sever. 

The  names  and  residences  of  the  original  party  are  as 

John  B.  Colton,  Kansas  City,  Mo. 

Alonzo  C.  Clay,  Galesburg,  111. 

Capt.  Asa  Haines,  Delong,  Knox  County,  111.,  died 
March  29,  1889. 

Luther  A.  Richards,  Beaver  City,  Neb. 

Charles  B.  Mecum,  Perry,  Greene  County,  Iowa. 

John  W.  Plummer,  Toulon,  111.,  died  June  22,  1892. 

Sidney  P.  Edgerton,  Blair,  Neb.,  died  January  31,  1880. 

Edward  F.  Bartholomew,  Pueblo,  Colo.,  died  February  13, 

Urban  P.  Davidson,  Derby  P.  O.,  Fremont  County,  Wyo. 

John  Groscup,  Cahto,  Mendocino  County,  Cal. 

Thomas  McGrew,  died  in  1866,  in  Willamette  Valley,  Ore. 

John  Cole,  died  in  Sonora,  Cal.,  in  1852. 

John  L.  West,  Coloma,  Cal.,  since  died. 

William  B.  Rude,  drowned  in  the  Colorado  River,  New 
Mexico,  in  1862. 

L.  Dow  Stevens,  San  Jos<5,  Cal. 

William  Robinson,  Maquon,  111.,  died  in  the  desert. 

Harrison,  unknown. 

Alexander  Palmer,  Knoxville,  111.,  died  at  Slate  Creek, 
Sierra  County,  Cal.,  in  1853. 

Aaron  Larkin,  Knoxville,  111.,  died  at  Humboldt,  Cal.,  in 

"the  jayhawkers  of  1849."  155 

Marshall  G.  Edgerton,  Galesburg,  111.,  died  in  Montana 
Territory  in  1855. 

William  Isham,  Rochester,  N.  Y.,  died  in  the  desert. 

Fish,  Oscaloosa,  Iowa,  died  in  the  desert. 

Carter,  Wisconsin,  unknown. 

Harrison  Frans,  Baker  City,  Baker  County,  Ore. 

Capt.  Edwin  Doty,  Naples,  Santa  Barbara  County,  Cal., 
died  June  14,  1891. 

Bruin  Byram,  Knoxville,  111.,  died  in  1863. 

Thomas  Shannon,  Los  Gatos,  Santa  Clara  County,  Cal. 

Rev.  J.  W.  Brier,  wife,  and  three  small  children,  Lodi 
City,  San  Joaquin  County,  Cal. 

George  Allen,  Chico,  Cal.,  died  in  1876. 

Leander  Woolsey,  Oakland,  Cal.,  died  in  1884. 

Man  from  Oscaloosa,  Iowa,  name  not  remembered,  died 
in  California. 

Charles  Clark,  Henderson,  111.,  died  in  1863. 

Gretzinger,  Oscaloosa,  Iowa,  unknown. 

A  Frenchman,  name  unknown,  became  insane  from 
starvation,  wandered  from  camp  near  the  Sierra  Nevada 
Mountains,  captured  by  the  Digger  Indians,  and  was 
rescued  by  a  United  States  surveying  party  fifteen  years 

The  following  are  to-day  the  sole  survivors  of  the  Jay- 
hawk  party  of  1849: 

John  B.  Colton,  Kansas  City,  Mo. 

Alonzo  G.  Clay,  Galesburg,  111. 

Luther  A.  Richards,  Beaver  City,  Neb. 

Charles  B.  Mecum,  Perry,  Iowa. 

Urban  P.  Davidson,  Derby,  Wyo. 

John  Groscup,  Cahto,  Cal. 

L.  Dow  Stevens,  San  Jose,  Cal. 

Rev.  J.  W.  Brier  and  Mrs.  J.  W.  Brier,  Lodi  City,  Cal. 

Harrison  Frans,  Baker  City,  Ore. 


Thomas  Shannon,  Los  Gatos,  Cal. 

The  last  reunion  of  the  Jayhawkers  was  held  at  the  home 
of  Col.  John  B.  Colton  of  Kansas  City,  Mo.,  just  forty-four 
years  after  the  arrival  of  the  party  upon  the  Pacific  Slope. 

Of  the  eleven  survivors  there  were  but  four  able  to  be 
present,  but  the  absent  ones  responded  to  their  invitations 
with  their  photographs  and  letters  of  good  will. 

Among  the  invited  guests  to  meet  these  old  heroes  were 
Col.  W.  F.  Cody  (Buffalo  Bill),  Col.  Frank  Hatton  of  the 
Washington  Post,  General  Van  Vliet,  Capt.  E.  D.  Millet  (an 
old  ranger),  and  the  writer,  who  wishes  the  remnant  of  the 
little  hero  band  may  yet  live  to  enjoy  a  score  more  of  such 
delightful  meetings. 



About  September  i,  1848,011  my  way  from  Independence, 
Mo.,  to  Santa  Fe,  N.  M.,  I  met  some  of  the  soldiers  of 
General  Donaldson's  regiment  returning  from  the  Mexi- 
can War  on  the  Hornather  or  dry  route,  lying  between  the 
crossing  of  the  Arkansas  and  Cimarron.  It  was  about  noon 
when  we  met.  I  saw  them  a  considerable  distance  away. 
They  were  on  horseback,  and  when  they  first  appeared,  the 
horses'  legs  looked  to  be  from  fifteen  to  eighteen  feet  long, 
and  the  body  of  the  horses  and  the  riders  upon  them  pre- 
sented a  remarkable  picture,  apparently  extending  into 
the  air,  rider  and  horse,  forty-five  to  sixty  feet  high. 
This  was  my  first  experience  with  mirage,  and  it  was  a 
marvel  to  me. 

At  the  same  time  I  could  see  beautiful  clear  lakes  of 
water,  apparently  not  more  than  a  mile  away,  with  all  the 
surroundings  in  the  way  of  bulrushes  and  other  water  vege- 
tation common  to  the  margin  of  lakes.  I  would  have  been 
willing,  at  that  time,  to  have  staked  almost  anything  upon 
the  fact  that  I  was  looking  upon  lakes  of  pure  water.  This 
was  my  last  experience  of  the  kind  until  I  was  returning 
later  on  in  the  season,  when  one  forenoon,  as  my  train  was 
on  the  march,  I  beheld  just  ahead  the  largest  buffalo  bull 
that  I  ever  saw.  I  stopped  the  train  to  keep  from  fright- 
ening the  animal  away,  took  the  gun  out  of  my  wagon, 
which  was  in  front,  and  started  off  to  get  a  shot  at  the  im- 
mense fellow,  but  when  I  had  walked  about  eighty  yards 
in  his  direction,  I  discovered  that  it  was  nothing  more  nor 



less  than  a  little  coyote,  which  would  not  have  weighed 
more  than  thirty  pounds  upon  the  scales. 

The  person  who  imagines  for  a  minute  that  there  is  noth- 
ing in  the  great  desert  wastes  of  the  Southwest  but  sand, 
cacti,  and  villainous  reptiles  is  deluded.  It  is  one  of  the 
most  common  fallacies  to  write  down  these  barren  places 
as  devoid  of  beauty  and  usefulness.  The  rhymester  who 
made  Robinson  Crusoe  exclaim/'Oh,  solitude,  where  are  the 
charms  that  sages  have  seen  in  thy  face?"  never  stood  on  a 
sand-dune  or  a  pile  of  volcanic  rock  in  this  Southwestern 
country  just  at  the  break  of  day  or  as  the  sun  went  down, 
else  the  rhyme  would  never  have  been  made  to  jingle. 

To  one  who  has  never  seen  the  famous  mirages  which 
Dame  Nature  paints  with  a  lavish  hand  upon  the  horizon 
that  bounds  an  Arizona  desert,  it  is  difficult  to  convey  an 
intelligent  portrait  of  these  magnificent  phenomena.  And 
one  who  has  looked  upon  these  incomparable  transforma- 
tion scenes,  the  Titanic  paintings  formed  by  nature's  curi- 
ous slight-of-hand,  can  never  forget  them.  They  form  the 
memories  of  a  lifetime. 

Arizona  is  rich  in  mirage  phenomena,  which,  owing  to 
the  peculiar  dryness  of  the  atmosphere,  are  more  vivid  and 
of  longer  duration  than  in  other  parts.  The  variety  of 
subjects  which  from  time  to  time  have  been  presented  like- 
wise gives  them  an  unusual  interest.  Almost  every  one 
who  has  lived  in  the  Territory  any  length  of  time,  and  one 
who  has  merely  passed  through,  especially  on  the  Southern 
Pacific  Route,  is  familiar  with  the  common  water  mirage 
which  appears  at  divers  places  along  the  railroad.  The 
most  common  section  in  which  this  phenomenon  may  be 
seen  is  between  Tucson  and  Red  Rock,  and  through  the 
entire  stretch  of  the  Salton  Basin  from  Ogilby  to  Indio. 

Here  in  the  early  morning  or  in  the  late  afternoon,  if 
the   atmospheric    conditions    be   right,    lakes,   river,   and 

MIRAGES.  159 

lagoons  of  water  can  be  seen  from  the  train  windows. 
Ofttimes  the  shimmering  surface  is  dotted  with  tiny  islands, 
and  the  shadows  of  umbrageous  foliage  are  plainly  seen  re- 
flected in  the  supposed  water;  yet  an  investigation  shows 
nothing  but  long  rods  of  sand-drifts  or  saline  deposits. 

Animals  as  well  as  men  are  deceived  by  these  freaks  of 
the  atmosphere.  Many  instances  are  recorded  where 
whole  bands  of  cattle  have  rushed  from  the  grazing  grounds 
across  the  hot  parched  plains  in  pursuit  of  the  constantly 
retreating  water  phantom,  until  they  perish  from  exhaus- 
tion, still  in  sight  of  running  brooks  and  surging  springs. 
Prior  to  the  advent  of  the  railroad  through  this  region, 
when  overland  passengers  passed  by  on  the  old  Yuma  road 
to  San  Diego,  scores  of  adventurous  spirits  perished  in 
chasing  this  illusive  phantom.  It  is  said  that  one  entire 
company  of  soldiers  was  thus  inveigled  from  the  highway 
and  perished  to  a  man. 

One  of  the  most  interesting  sights  of  this  class  is  to  be 
seen  almost  any  time  of  the  year  in  Mohave  County,  down 
in  the  region  of  the  Big  Sandy.  Here  for  leagues  upon 
leagues  the  ground  is  strewn  with  volcanic  matter  and 
basalt.  It  is  one  of  the  hottest  portions  of  the  continent, 
and  except  in  the  winter  months  it  is  almost  unendurable 
by  man  or  beast 

At  a  point  were  the  main  road  from  the  settlements  on 
the  Colorado  to  Kingman  turns  toward  the  east,  there  are 
a  number  of  volcanic  buttes.  At  these  buttes  just  before 
sunrise  the  famous  cantilever  bridge  which  spans  the  Col- 
orado River  near  the  Needles,  seventy  miles  distant,  is 
plainly  visible,  together  with  the  moving  trains  and  crew. 
The  train  has  the  appearance  of  being  perhaps  an  eighth  of 
a  mile  distant,  and  every  motion  on  board,  the  smoke, 
the  escaping  steam,  are  as  natural  and  vivid  as  though 
not  a  hundred  yards  away. 


At  this  same  point  huge  mountains  are  seen  to  lift  them- 
selves up  bodily  and  squat  down  again  in  the  highway. 
Near  these  buttes,  which  are  known  as  the  Evil  Ones, 
away  back  in  the  sixties  a  small  force  of  cavalry  was  mak- 
ing its  way  from  Fort  Yuma  to  Fort  Whipple.  Owing  to 
the  extreme  heat  during  the  day,  and  as  a  further  precau- 
tion against  the  hostile  Indians,  they  were  obliged  to  march 
at  night,  finding  shelter  in  some  mountain  canon  during 
the  day. 

Shortly  after  daybreak,  as  they  were  preparing  to  go  into 
camp,  a  whole  legion  of  painted  devils  appeared  on  their 
front  and  hardly  a  quarter  of  a  mile  distant.  The  troops 
were  thrown  into  confusion,  and  an  order  was  immediately 
given  to  break  ranks,  and  every  man  concealed  himself 
behind  the  rocks,  awaiting  the  attack  which  all  felt  must 
necessarily  end  in  massacre. 

For  some  minutes  the  Indians  were  seen  to  parley  and 
gesticulate  with  each  other,  but  they  gave  no  signs  of  hav- 
ing noticed  their  hereditary  foe.  The  unhappy  troopers, 
however,  were  not  kept  in  suspense  long.  As  the  great  red 
disk  of  the  day  began  to  mount  slowly  up  over  the  adjoin- 
ing mountains,  the  redskins  vanished  as  noiselessly  and  as 
suddenly  as  they  had  appeared. 

Used  as  they  were  to  treachery,  and  fearing  some  uncanny 
trick,  the  soldiers  maintained  their  position  throughout  the 
long  hot  day,  nor  did  they  attempt  to  move  until  late  in 
the  night.  Some  weeks  later  it  was  learned  from  captives 
that  on  that  very  morning  a  band  of  nearly  one  thousand 
Chinhuevas  and  Wallapais  were  lying  in  wait  for  this  same 
command  but  ninety  miles  up  the  river,  expecting  the 
soldiers  by  that  route. 

The  most  remarkable  of  all  the  mirages  which  have  been 
witnessed  in  Arizona,  at  least  by  white  man's  eyes,  was 
seen  some  years  ago  by  an  entire  train-load  of  passengers 

MIKAGES.  101 

on  the  Southern  Pacific  Railroad,  near  the  small  eating 
station  of  Maricopa,  thirty-five  miles  below  Phoenix.  The 
train  was  due  at  the  eating  station  at  6.30  a.  m. 

At  6.15  o'clock  it  stopped  at  a  small  water-tank  a  few 
miles  east.  During  this  stop  the  trainmen  and  such  of  the 
passengers  as  were  awake  were  amazed  to  see  spring  out 
of  the  ground  on  the  sky  a  magnificent  city.  The  build- 
ings were  of  the  old  Spanish  and  Morisco  architecture,  and 
were  mostly  adobe.  Spacious  court-yards  lay  before  the 
astonished  lookers-on,  filled  with  all  varieties  of  tropical 
fruits  and  vegetation. 

Men  and  women  clothed  in  the  picturesque  garbs  of  Old 
Spain  were  seen  hurrying  along  the  narrow,  irregular 
streets  to  the  principal  edifice,  which  had  the  appearance 
of  a  church.  Had  the  astonished  spectators  been  picked 
up  bodily  and  landed  in  one  of  the  provincial  towns  of 
Seville  or  Andalusia,  they  would  not  have  seen  a  more 
dazzling  array  of  stately  senoras  and  laughing  black-eyed 
muchachas  of  the  land  of  forever  manana. 

But  the  vision  lasted  much  less  time  than  it  takes  to 
write  of  the  strange  occurrence.  It  vanished  as  mysteri- 
ously as  it  came.  Of  course  all  of  the  hysterical  women 
fainted.  That  is  one  of  woman's  prerogatives,  in  lieu  of 
an  explanation. 

This  phenomenon  remained  unsolved  for  two  or  three 
years.  About  that  time,  after  the  mirage  was  seen,  a  young 
civil  engineer  who  was  among  the  witnesses  was  engaged 
on  the  Gulf  coast  survey  from  the  headwaters  below  Yuma 
to  Guaymas.  In  the  course  of  his  labors  he  found  himself 
at  the  old  Mexican  pueblo  of  Altar,  and  there  he  saw  the 
original  of  the  picture  in  the  sky  seen  three  years  before 
near  Maricopa  Station.  The  distance,  as  a  buzzard  flies, 
from  Maricopa  to  Altar  is  more  than  a  hundred  miles. 

The  native  tribes  are  very  superstitious  concerning  the 


mirage,  and  when  one  is  once  observed,  that  locality  receives 
a  wide  berth  in  the  future. 

In  the  secluded  Jim-Jam  Valley  of  the  San  Bernardino 
Mountains  there  are  the  most  marvelous  mirages  known 
to  the  world.  The  wonderful  mirages  of  the  Mojave 
Desert  have  been  talked  about  a  great  deal,  and  they  are 
entitled  to  all  the  prominence  they  have  had.  But  those  of 
the  Jim-Jam  Valley  are  far  more  wonderful  than  these. 

It  is  called  Jim-Jam  Valley  because  of  the  strange  things 
seen  there,  and  I  defy  any  man,  however  sound  of  mind  he 
may  be,  to  go  in  there  and  not  think  he  has  "  got  'em  " 
before  he  gets  out. 

This  valley  is  about  twenty-five  miles  long  by  fifteen 
miles  wide.  It  is  uninhabited.  It  is  bordered  by  the  main 
San  Bernardino  range  on  the  east,  and  by  a  spur  of  the 
Sierra  Magdalenas  on  the  west.  There  is  no  well-defined 
trail  through  the  heart  of  it.  The  valley  is  a  desert.  The 
surrounding  mountains  are  terribly  serrated  and  cut  up. 
The  peaks  are  jagged.  Altogether  the  surroundings  are 
weird  and  forbidding. 

Leaving  Fisk's  ranch  on  the  trail  at  the  foot  of  the 
Sierra  Magdalenas,  you  climb  an  easy  grade  to  Dead 
Man's  Pass,  the  entrance  to  the  valley. 

Go  in,  and  pretty  soon  you  see  lakes,  and  running  rivers, 
and  green  borders,  and  flying  water-fowl.  Willows  spring 
up  here  and  there,  and  in  the  distance  you  see  water- 

What  you  behold  contrasts  finely  with  the  rugged  mount- 
ains, and  you  are  charmed  with  it,  and  go  on  thinking  you 
have  struck  an  earthly  paradise.  Indian  camps  appear  in 
view,  and  little  oarsmen  propel  fantastic  crafts  upon  the 
waters.  Advancing  still  farther,  dimly  outlined  forms  may 
be  seen,  and  the  pantomime  reminds  you  of  a  strange  hob- 
goblin dance. 


Sometimes  a  storm  brews  in  the  valley,  and  then  the 
scene  is  all  the  more  terrible.  Forked  lightning  blazes 
about,  and  strange,  uncouth  animals,  differing  from  any 
you  have  ever  read  about,  are  to  be  seen  there. 

These  phenomena  are  seen  for  a  stretch  of  about  fifteen 
miles,  up  and  down  the  middle  of  the  valley  principally, 
and  they  have  been  viewed  by  a  great  many  people.  They 
can  not  understand  why  the  forms  of  the  mirage,  if  such  it 
may  be  called,  are  so  much  more  strange  there  than  on  the 
Mojave  Desert. 

Everybody  is  in  awe  of  the  valley,  and  there  are  mighty 
few  men,  however  nervy  they  may  be  ordinarily,  who  care 
to  go  there  a  second  time. 



In  the  winter  of  1858,  while  my  partner,  Mr.  W.  H.  Rus- 
sell, John  S.  Jones,  a  citizen  of  Pettis  County,  Mo.,  and 
myself  were  all  in  Washington,  D.  C,  which  was  about  the 
time  that  the  Pike's  Peak  excitement  was  at  its  highest 
pitch,  Messrs.  Jones  and  Russell  conceived  the  idea  (I  do 
not  know  from  which  one  it  emanated),  and  concluded  to 
put  a  line  of  daily  coaches  in  operation  between  the  Mis- 
souri River  and  Denver  City,  when  Denver  was  but  a  few 
months  old.  They  came  to  me  with  the  proposition  to 
take  hold  of  the  enterprise  with  them. 

I  told  them  I  could  not  consent  to  do  so,  for  it  would  be 
impossible  to  make  such  a  venture,  at  such  an  early  period 
of  development  of  this  country,  a  paying  institution,  and 
urgently  advised  them  to  let  the  enterprise  alone,  for  the. 
above  stated  reasons.  They,  however,  paid  no  attention  to 
my  protest,  and  went  forward  with  their  plans,  bought 
1,000  fine  Kentucky  mules  and  a  sufficient  number  of  Con- 
cord coaches  to  supply  a  daily  coach  each  way  between  the 
Missouri  River  and  Denver.  At  that  time  Leavenworth 
was  the  starting  point  on  the  Missouri.  A  few  months 
later,  however,  they  made  Atchison  the  eastern  terminus  of 
the  line  and  Denver  the  western. 

They  bought  their  mules  and  coaches  on  credit,  giving 
their  notes,  payable  in  ninety  days;  sent  men  out  to  estab- 
lish a  station  every  ten  to  fifteen  miles  from  Leavenworth 
due  west,  going  up  the  Smoky  Hill  fork  of  the  Kansas 
River,  through  the  Territory  of  Kansas,  and  direct  to  Den- 



ver.     The  line  was  organized,  stations  built  and  put  in  run- 
ning shape  in  remarkably  quick  time. 

They  made  their  daily  trips  in  six  days,  traveling  about 
one  hundred  miles  every  twenty-four  hours.  The  first 
stage  ran  into  Denver  on  May  17,  1859.  It  was  looked 
upon  as  a  great  success,  so  far  as  putting  the  enterprise  in 
good  shape  was  concerned,  but  when  the  ninety  days 
expired  and  the  notes  fell  due  they  were  unable  to  meet 
them.  And  in  spite  of  my  protests  in  the  commencement 
of  the  organization  as  against  having  anything  to  do  with 
it,  it  became  necessary  for  Russell,  Majors  &  Waddell  to 
meet  the  obligation  that  Jones  &  Russell  had  entered  into 
in  organizing  and  putting  the  stock  on  the  line.  To  save 
our  partner  we  had  to  pay  the  debts  of  the  concern  and  take 
the  mules  and  coaches,  or,  in  other  words,  all  the  parapher- 
nalia of  the  line,  to  secure  us  for  the  money  we  had 

The  institution  then  having  become  the  property  of  Rus- 
sell, Majors  &  Waddell,  we  continued  to  run  it  daily.  A 
few  months  after  that,  we  bought  out  the  semi-monthly 
line  of  Hockaday  &  Liggett,  that  was  running  from  St. 
Joseph,  Mo.,  to  Salt  Lake  City,  thinking  that  by  blending 
the  two  lines  we  might  bring  the  business  up  to  where  it 
would  pay  expenses,  if  nothing  more. 

This  we  failed  in,  for  the  lines,  even  after  being  blended, 
did  not  nearly  meet  expenses.  Messrs.  Hockaday  &  Lig- 
gett had  a  few  stages,  light,  cheap  vehicles,  and  but  a  few 
mules,  and  no  stations  along  the  route.  They  traveled  the 
same  team  for  several  hundreds  of  miles  before  changing, 
stopping  every  few  hours  and  turning  them  loose  to  graze, 
and  then  hitching  them  up  again  and  going  along. 

1  made  a  trip  in  the  fall  of  1858  from  St.  Joseph,  Mo., 
to  Bait  Lake  City  in  their  coaches.  It  was  twenty-one  days 
from  the  time  I  left  St.  Joseph  until  I  reached  Salt  Lake, 


traveling  at  short  intervals  day  and  night.  As  soon  as  we 
bought  them  out  we  built  good  stations  and  stables  every 
ten  to  fifteen  miles  all  the  way  from  Missouri  to  Salt  Lake, 
and  supplied  them  with  hay  and  grain  for  the  horses  and 
provisions  for  the  men,  so  they  would  only  have  to  drive  a 
team  from  one  station  to  the  next,  changing  at  every 

Instead  of  our  schedule  time  being  twenty-two  days,  as 
it  was  with  Hockaday  &  Liggett,  and  running  two  per 
month,  we  ran  a  stage  each  way  every  day  and  made  the 
schedule  time  ten  days,  a  distance  of  1,200  miles.  We 
continued  running  this  line  from  the  summer  of  1859  until 
March,  1862,  when  it  fell  into  the  hands  of  Ben  Holliday. 
From  the  summer  of  1859  to  1862  the  line  was  run  from 
Atchison  to  Fort  Kearney  and  from  Fort  Kearney  to  Fort 
Laramie,  up  the  Sweet  Water  route  and  South  Pass,  and  on 
to  Salt  Lake  City. 

This  is  the  route  also  run  by  the  Pony  Express,  each  pony 
starting  from  St.  Joseph  instead  of  Atchison,  Kan.,  from 
which  the  stages  started.  We  had  on  this  line  about  one 
thousand  Kentucky  mules  and  300  smaller-sized  mules  to 
run  on  through  the  mountain  portion  of  the  line,  and  a 
large  number  of  Concord  coaches.  It  was  as  fine  a  line, 
considering  the  mules,  coaches,  drivers,  and  general  outfit- 
ting, perhaps,  as  was  ever  organized  in  this  or  any  other 
country,  from  the  beginning. 

And  it  was  very  fortunate  for  the  Government  and  the 
people  that  such  a  line  was  organized  and  in  perfect  run- 
ning condition  on  the  middle  route  when  the  late  war  com- 
menced, as  it  would  have  been  impossible  to  carry  mails  on 
the  route  previously  patronized  by  the  Government,  which 
ran  from  San  Francisco  via  Los  Angeles,  El  Paso,  Fort 
Smith,  and  St.  Louis,  for  the  Southern  people  would  have 

THE    FIRST    STAGE    INTO    DENVER.  107 

interfered  with  it,  and  would  not  have  allowed  it  to  run 
through  that  portion  of  the  country  during  the  war. 

It  turned  out  that  Senator  Gwin's  original  idea  with 
reference  to  running  a  pony  express  from  the  Missouri 
River  to  Sacramento  to  prove  the  practicability  of  that 
route  at  all  seasons  of  the  year  was  well  taken,  and  the 
stage  line  as  well  as  the  pony  proved  to  be  of  vital  impor- 
tance in  carrying  the  mails  and  Government  dispatches. 

It  so  transpired  that  the  firm  of  Russell,  Majors  &  Wad- 
dell  had  to  pay  the  fiddler,  or  the  entire  expense  of  organ- 
izing both  the  stage  line  and  the  pony  express,  at  a  loss,  as 
it  turned  out,  of  hundreds  of  thousands  of  dollars.  After 
the  United  States  mail  was  given  to  this  line  it  became  a 
paying  institution,  but  it  went  into  the  hands  of  Hoiliday 
just  before  the  first  quarterly  payment  of  $100,000  was 
made.  The  Government  paid  $800,000  a  year  for  carrying 
the  mails  from  San  Francisco  to  Missouri,  made  in  quar- 
terly payments. 

The  part  of  the  line  that  Russell,  Majors  &  Waddell 
handled  received  $400,000,  and  Butterfield  &  Co.  received 
$400,000  for  carrying  the  mails  from  Salt  Lake  to  Cali- 
fornia. During  the  war  there  was  a  vast  amount  of  busi- 
ness, both  in  express  and  passenger  traveling,  and  it  was  the 
only  available  practicable  line  of  communication  between 
California  and  the  States  east  of  the  Rocky  Mountains. 



During  the  winter  of  1858-59  the  public  generally, 
throughout  the  United  States,  began  to  give  publicity  to  a 
great  gold  discovery  reported  to  have  been  made  in  the 
Pike's  Peak  region  of  the  Rocky  Mountains. 

From  week  to  week,  as  time  passed,  more  extended 
accounts  were  given,  until  the  reports  became  fabulous. 

The  discovery  was  reported  to  have  been  made  in  Cherry 
Creek,  at  or  near  its  junction  with  the  South  Platte  River, 
and  one  of  the  newspapers  at  the  time,  published  in  Cleve- 
land, Ohio,  came  out,  giving  a  cut  which  was  claimed  to  be 
a  map  of  the  country.  Pike's  Peak  was  given  as  the  cen- 
tral figure.  The  South  Fork  of  the  Platte  River  was  repre- 
sented as  flowing  out  from  the  mountain  near  its  base, 
and  Cherry  Creek  as  coming  out  of  a  gorge  in  the  mount- 
ain's side,  and  forming  a  junction  with  the  Platte  in  the 
low  lands,  at  which  point  Denver  was  designated. 

Reports  went  so  far  as  to  state  that  gold  was  visible  in 
the  sands  of  the  creek-bed,  and  that  the  banks  would  pay 
from  grass  roots  to  bed  rock. 

People  became  wild  with  excitement,  and  a  stampede  to 
Pike's  Peak  appeared  inevitable. 

The  great  question  with  the  excited  people  was  as  to 
the  shortest,  cheapest,  and  quickest  way  to  get  to  the 
country,  with  little  thought  of  personal  safety  or  comfort, 
or  as  to  how  they  should  get  back  in  the  event  of  failure. 
But  the  problem  was  soon  believed  to  have  been  solved  to 
the  satisfaction  of  all  concerned. 


THE   GOLD    FEVER.  109 

A  brilliant  idea  took  possession  of  the  fertile  brain  of  an 
energetic  Buckeye  citizen,  and  a  plan  was  conceived  and  to 
an  extent  put  in  execution.  A  canal-boat  which  had  been 
converted  into  a  steam  tug  was  secured,  not  only  for  the 
purpose  of  transporting  the  multitudes  from  Cleveland  to 
Denver,  but  to  transport  the  millions  of  treasures  back  to 
civilization,  or,  as  it  was  then  put,  "  to  God's  country." 
Passengers  were  advertised  for  at  $100  per  head;  the  route 
given  as  follows:  Prom  Cleveland,  Ohio,  via  the  lake  to 
Chicago,  thence  via  Illinois  Canal  and  River  to  the  Missis- 
sippi River,  then  to  the  mouth  of  the  Missouri  River  and 
up  the  Missouri  to  the  mouth  of  the  Platte  River,  and, 
thence  up  the  Platte  to  Denver,  and  it  was  with  pride  that 
this  boat  was  advertised  as  the  first  to  form  a  line  of 
steamers  to  regularly  navigate  the  last  named  stream. 

Of  course  this  trip  was  never  made,  for  in  fact,  at  certain 
seasons  of  the  year,  it  would  be  difficult  to  float  a  two-inch 
plank  down  the  river  from  Denver  to  the  Missouri,  and  yet 
this  is  but  illustrative  of  the  hundreds  of  visionary,  crude 
and  novel  plans  conceived  and  adopted  by  the  thousands 
of  so-called  Pike's  Peakers  who  swarmed  the  plains  between 
Denver  and  the  border  during  the  early  part  of  1859. 

Having  caught  the  fever,  and  there  being  no  remedy  for 
the  disease  equal  to  the  gold  hunter's  experience,  horses 
and  wagon  were  secured  and,  with  traveling  companions, 
the  trip  was  made  by  land.  Many  novel  experiences  to 
the  participants  occurred  during  that  trip. 

At  Leavenworth  one  of  my  companions  concluded  to 
economize,  which  he  did  by  piloting  six  yoke  of  oxen 
across  the  plains  for  me.  He  drove  into  Denver  in  the 
morning  and  drove  out  of  it  in  the  evening  of  the  same 
day,  fully  convinced  (as  he  himself  stated)  that  all  reports 
of  the  country  were  either  humbugs  or  greatly  exagger- 
ated, and  that  he  had  seen  and  knew  all  that  was  worth 


seeing  and  knowing  of  that  land.  I  suggested  the  advisa- 
bility of  further  investigation  before  moving  on,  but  not 
being  favorable  to  delay,  and  suiting  himself  to  his  means, 
he  secured  an  ox  and  cart  that  had  been  brought  in  from 
the  Red  River  of  the  North,  and  loading  it  with  all  nec- 
essary supplies  headed  for  Denver,  with  a  determination 
so  aptly  and  forcibly  expressed  in  the  usual  motto,  "Pike's 
Peak  or  bust."  All  went  well  until  he  reached  the  Little 
Blue  River  in  Kansas,  when  he  "busted,"  or  at  least  the 
cart  did,  and  the  result  was  the  location  of  a  ranch  on  that 
stream  and  an  end  to  his  westward  career. 

Thus  Kansas  is  largely  indebted  for  her  early  and  rapid 
settlement  to  the  discovery  of  gold  in  Colorado,  and  to  the 
misfortunes  of  many  of  the  Pike's  Peakers  who,  for  some 
cause,  failed  to  reach  the  end  desired,  and  who  were  thus 
compelled  to  stop  and  become  settlers  of  that  now  great 

Shortly  before  the  time  of  which  I  write,  June,  1859,  Hor- 
ace Greeley  passed  through  Leavenworth  en  route  for  Den- 
ver, and  thousands  of  people  were  to  be  found  in  every  prin- 
cipal town  and  city,  from  St.  Louis  to  Council  Bluffs  (there 
was  no  Omaha  at  that  time),  who  were  awaiting  his  report, 
which  was  daily  expected,  and  for  once,  at  least,  the  New 
York  Tribune  was  in  demand  on  the  borders.  I  may  say 
here  that  Horace  Greeley  was  dead-headed  through  to  Cali- 

In  the  early  part  of  July  came  a  favorable  report  in  the 
Tribune,  and  at  that  time  a  shipment  of  gold  was  made 
from  Denver  and  put  on  exhibition  in  one  of  the  banks  at 

Thus  new  life  was  given  to  the  immigration  movement, 
and  soon  the  towns  along  the  border  were  largely  relieved 
of  their  floating  population,  and  the  plains  at  once  became 
alive  with  a  moving,  struggling  mass  of  humanity,  moving 

THE    GOLD    FEVER.  171 

westward  in  the  mad  rush  for  the  gold-fields  of  Pike's 

Among  my  friends  an  association  was  formed  and  the 
following  party  organized,  viz.:  Alfred  H.  Miles  and  his 
wife,  their  son  George  T.,  and  two  daughters,  Fannie  D. 
and  Emma  C.  Miles,  with  William  McLelland  and  P.  A. 

They  outfitted  with  two  wagons,  four  yoke  of  oxen,  two 
saddle-mules,  one  cow,  and  all  supplies  presumed  to  be 
sufficient  for  at  least  one  year.  On  the  first  day  of  August, 
1S59,  they  moved  out  from  Leavenworth,  happy  and  full  of 
"  great  expectations  "  for  the  future.  Forty-nine  days  were 
spent  in  making  the  drive,  and  then  they  landed  in  Denver 
on  the  eighteenth  day  of  the  following  month.  And  here 
let  me  say,  that  I  believe  this  party  of  seven  proved  an 
exception  to  the  rule,  in  this,  that  every  member  of  it  be- 
came a  permanent  settler,  and  for  the  last  thirty-three 
years  they  have  been  actively  connected  with,  and  identi- 
fied in,  the  various  departments  of  life  and  business,  both 
public  and  private. 

All  are  yet  living  and  residents  of  the  State,  except  Mrs. 
Miles,  who  recently  passed  to  a  higher  life,  respected  and 
loved  by  all  who  knew  her;  and  I  here  venture  the  opinion 
that  no  other  party  of  emigrants  in  this  country,  of  equal 
number,  can  show  a  better  record. 

Many  novel  events  occurred  on  this  trip  also,  but  to 
mention  all  the  new  and  novel  experiences  incident  to  an 
expedition  of  that  kind  would  require  more  than  the 
allotted  space  for  a  chapter.  I  will,  therefore,  confine  the 
account  to  one  incident  alone  which  will  make  manifest  the 
radical  changes  that  are  sometimes  wrought  in  the  individ- 
ual lives  of  people,  in  a  sometimes  radically  short  space  of 
time.  Two  of  the  ladies  of  the  party  before  mentioned 
arrived  in  Leavenworth  about  one  month  previous  to  their 


departure  on  this  trip.  They  were  just  graduated  from  a 
three  years'  course  of  study  in  a  female  seminary,  and  in 
thirty  days  from  that  time  they  were  transported  from  their 
boarding-school  surroundings  to  the  wilds  of  the  Great 
American  Desert,  and  after  passing  into  the  timberless 
portion  of  the  great  desert,  the  great  query  with  them  was 
as  to  how  and  where  they  were  to  secure  fuel  necessary  for 
culinary  purposes;  and  when  informed  that  it  would  be 
necessary  to  gather  and  use  buffalo  chips  for  that  purpose, 
their  incredulity  became  manifest,  and  their  curiosity  was 
rather  increased  than  satisfied.  When  called  upon  to  go, 
gunny-sack  in  hand,  out  from  the  line  of  travel  to  gather 
the  necessary  fuel,  it  was  difficult  to  persuade  them  they 
were  not  being  made  the  victims  of  a  joke;  but  when  finally 
led  into  the  field  of  "  chips,"  and  the  discovery  made  of 
their  character,  the  expression  upon  the  face  of  each  would 
have  been  a  delight  to  an  artist  and  amusing  to  the 
beholder;  and  to  say  that  the  distance  between  the  chip- 
field  and  the  camp  was  covered  by  them  in  the  time  rarely, 
if  ever,  covered  by  the  native  antelope,  is  to  speak  without 

As  before  stated,  all  of  the  seven  members  of  this  party, 
on  their  arrival  in  Denver,  became  residents  and  actively 
identified  in  the  various  departments  of  life  and  business, 
and  to  each  and  every  one  there  is  no  spot  on  the  face  of 
this  globe  that  is  quite  so  good,  so  grand,  and  so  dear  as 
the  Centennial  State,  of  which  Denver  is  the  center  of  their 



Over  thirty-two  years  ago,  when  a  bachelor  occupied  the 
"President's  mansion  at  Washington,  and  there  was  no  Pacific 
Railroad  and  no  transcontinental  telegraph  line  in  opera- 
tion over  the  Great  American  Desert  of  the  old  school- 
books,  and  the  wild  Indian  was  lord  of  the  manor — a  true 
native  American  sovereign — St.  Joseph,  Mo.,  was  the  west- 
ern terminus  of  railway  transportation.  Beyond  that  point 
the  traveler  bound  for  the  regions  of  the  Occident  had  his 
choice  of  a  stage-coach,  an  ox-team,  a  pack-mule,  or  some 
equally  stirring  method  of  reaching  San  Francisco. 

Just  at  that  interesting  period  in  our  history — when  the 
gold  and  silver  excitement,  and  other  local  advantages  of 
the  Pacific  Coast,  had  concentrated  an  enterprising  popula- 
tion and  business  at  San  Francisco  and  the  adjacent  dis- 
tricts— the  difficulty  of  communication  with  the  East  was 
greatly  deplored,  and  the  rapid  overland  mail  service 
became  an  object  of  general  solicitude.  In  the  year  1859 
several  magnates  in  Wall  Street  formed  a  formidable  lobby 
at  Washington  in  the  interests  of  an  overland  mail  route  to 
California,  and  asked  Congress  for  a  subsidy  for  carrying 
the  mails  overland  for  one  year  between  New  York  and  San 

The  distance  was  1,950  miles.  Mr.  Russell  proposed  to 
cover  this  distance  with  a  mail  line  between  St.  Joseph, 
Mo.,  and  San  Francisco,  that  would  deliver  letters  at  either 
end  of  the  route  within  ten  days. 

Five  hundred  of  the  fleetest  horses  to  be  procured  were 


IM  SEVENTY    YEARS    ON    Till.    IRON'TIER. 

immediately  purchased,  and  the  services  of  over  two  hun- 
dred competent  men  were  secured.  Eighty  of  these  men 
were  selected  for  express  riders.  Light-weights  were 
deemed  the  most  eligible  for  the  purpose;  the  lighter  the 
man  the  better  for  the  horse,  as  some  portions  of  the  route 
had  to  be  traversed  at  a  speed  of  twenty  miles  an  hour. 
Relays  were  established  at  stations,  the  distance  between 
which  was,  in  each  instance,  determined  by  the  character  of 
the  country. 

These  stations  dotted  a  wild,  uninhabited  expanse  of 
country  2,000  miles  wide,  infested  with  road-agents  and 
warlike  Indians,  who  roamed  in  formidable  hunting  parties, 
ready  to  sacrifice  human  life  with  as  little  unconcern  as 
they  would  slaughter  a  buffalo.  The  Pony  Express,  there- 
fore, was  not  only  an  important,  but  a  daring  and  romantic 
enterprise.  At  each  station  a  sufficient  number  of  horses 
were  kept,  and  at  every  third  station  the  thin,  wiry,  and 
hardy  pony-riders  held  themselves  in  readiness  to  press  for- 
ward with  the  mails.  These  were  filled  with  important 
business  letters  and  press  dispatches  from  Eastern  cities 
and  San  Francisco,  printed  upon  tissue  paper,  and  thus 
especially  adapted  by  their  weight  for  this  mode  of  trans- 

The  schedule  time  for  the  trip  was  fixed  at  ten  days.  In 
this  manner  they  supplied  the  place  of  the  electric  tele- 
graph and  the  lightning  express  train  of  the  gigantic  rail- 
way enterprise  that  subsequently  superseded  it. 

The  men  were  faithful,  daring  fellows,  and  their  service 
was  full  of  novelty  and  adventure.  The  facility  and  energy 
with  which  they  journeyed  was  a  marvel.  The  news  of 
Abraham  Lincoln's  election  was  carried  through  from  St. 
Joseph  to  Denver,  Colo.,  665  miles,  in  two  days  and  twenty- 
one  hours,  the  last  ten  miles  having  been  covered  in  thirty- 
one  minutes.    The  last  route  on  the  occasion  was  traversed 

THE    OVERLAND    MAIL.  175 

by  Robert  H.  Haslam,  better  known  as  "Pony  Bob,"  who 
carried  the  news  120  miles  in  eight  hours  and  ten  minutes, 
riding  from  Smith's  Creek  to  Fort  Churchill,  on  the  Carson 
River,  Nevada,  the  first  telegraph  station  on  the  Pacific 

On  another  occasion,  it  is  recorded,  one  of  these  riders 
journeyed  a  single  stretch  of  300  miles — the  other  men 
who  should  have  relieved  him  being  either  disabled  or 
indisposed — and  reached  the  terminal  station  on  schedule 

The  distance  between  relay  riders'  stations  varied  from 
sixty-five  to  one  hundred  miles,  and  often  more.  The 
weight  to  be  carried  by  each  was  fixed  at  ten  pounds  or 
under,  and  the  charge  for  transportation  was  $5  in  gold  for 
each  half  of  an  ounce.  The  entire  distance  between  New 
York  City  and  San  Francisco  occupied  but  fourteen  days. 
The  riders  received  from  $120  to  $125  per  month  for  their 
arduous  services.  The  pony  express  enterprise  continued 
for  about  two  years,  at  the  end  of  which  time  telegraph 
service  between  the  Atlantic  and  Pacific  oceans  was  estab- 
lished. Few  men  remember  those  days  of  excitement  and 
interest.  The  danger  surrounding  the  riders  can  not  be 
told.  Not  only  were  they  remarkable  for  lightness  of 
weight  and  energy,  but  their  service  required  continual  vig- 
ilance, bravery,  and  agility.  Among  their  number  were 
skillful  guides,  scouts,  and  couriers,  accustomed  to  advent- 
ures and  hardships  on  the  plains — men  of  strong  wills  and 
wonderful  powers  of  endurance.  The  horses  were  mostly 
half-breed  California  mustangs,  as  alert  and  energetic  as 
their  riders,  and  their  part  in  the  service — sure-footed  and 
fleet — was  invaluable.  Only  two  minutes  were  allowed  at 
stations  for  changing  mails  and  horses.  Everybody  was  on 
the  qui  vive.  The  adventures  with  which  the  service  was 
rife  are  numerous  and  excitinsr. 


The  day  of  the  first  start,  the  3d  of  April,  i860,  at 
noon,  Harry  Roff,  mounted  on  a  spirited  half-breed  broncho, 
started  from  Sacramento  on  his  perilous  ride,  and  covered 
the  first  twenty  miles,  including  one  change,  in  fifty-nine 
minutes.  On  reaching  Folson,  he  changed  again  and 
started  for  Placerville,  at  the  foot  of  the  Sierra  Nevada 
Mountain,  fifty-five  miles  distant.  There  he  connected  with 
"Boston,"  who  took  the  route  to  Friday's  Station, crossing 
the  eastern  summit  of  the  Sierra  Nevada.  Sam  Hamilton 
next  fell  into- line,  and  pursued  his  way  to  Genoa,  Carson 
City,  Dayton,  Reed's  Station,  and  Fort  Churchill— seventy- 
five  miles.  The  entire  run,  185  miles,  was  made  in  fifteen 
hours  and  twenty  minutes,  and  included  the  crossing  of  the 
western  summits  of  the  Sierras,  through  thirty  feet  of 
snow.  This  seems  almost  impossible,  and  would  have  been, 
had  not  pack  trains  of  mules  and  horses  kept  the  trail 
open.  Here  "Pony  Bob" — Robert  H.  Haslam — took  the 
road  from  Fort  Churchill  to  Smith's  Creek,  120  miles  dis- 
tant, through  a  hostile  Indian  country.  From  this  point 
Jay  G.  Kelley  rode  from  Smith's  Creek  to  Ruby  Valley, 
Utah,  116  miles;  from  Ruby  Valley  to  Deep  Creek,  H. 
Richardson,  105  miles;  from  Deep  Creek  to  Rush  Valley, 
old  Camp  Floyd,  eighty  miles;  from  Camp  Floyd  to  Salt 
Lake  City,  fifty  miles;  George  Thacher  the  last  end.  This 
ended  the  Western  Division,  under  the  management  of 
Bolivar  Roberts,  now  in  Salt  Lake  City. 

Among  the  most  noted  and  daring  riders  of  the  Pony 
Express  was  Hon.  William  F.  Cody,  better  known  as  Buf- 
falo Bill,  whose  reputation  is  now  established  the  world 
over.  While  engaged  in  the  express  service,  his  route  lay 
between  Red  Buttes  and  Three  Crossings,  a  distance  of  116 
miles.  It  was  a  most  dangerous,  long,  and  lonely  trail, 
including  the  perilous  crossing  of  the  North  Platte  River, 
one-half  mile  wide,  and  though  generally  shallow,  in  some- 

THE    OVERLAND    MAIL.  177 

places  twelve  feet  deep,  often  much  swollen  and  turbulent. 
An  average  of  fifteen  miles  an  hour  had  to  be  made, 
including  changes  of  horses,  detours  for  safety,  and  time 
for  meals.  Once,  upon  reaching  Three  Crossings,  he  found 
that  the  rider  on  the  next  division,  who  had  a  route  of 
seventy-six  miles,  had  been  killed  during  the  night  before, 
and  he  was  called  on  to  make  the  extra  trip  until  another 
rider  could  be  employed.  This  was  a  request  the  compli- 
ance with  which  would  involve  the  most  taxing  labors  and 
an  endurance  few  persons  are  capable  of;  nevertheless, 
young  Cody  was  promptly  on  hand  for  the  additional  jour- 
ney, and  reached  Rocky  Ridge,  the  limit  of  the  second 
route,  on  time.  This  round  trip  of  384  miles  was  made 
without  a  stop,  except  for  meals  and  to  change  horses,  and 
every  station  on  the  route  was  entered  on  time.  This  is 
one  of  the  longest  and  best  ridden  pony  express  journeys 
ever  made. 

Pony  Bob  also  had  a  series  of  stirring  adventures  while 
performing  his  great  equestrian  feat,  which  he  thus 

"About  eight  months  after  the  Pony  Express  commenced 
operations,  the  Piute  war  began  in  Nevada,  and  as  no  reg- 
ular troops  were  then  at  hand,  a  volunteer  corps,  raised  in 
California,  with  Col.  Jack  Hayes  and  Henry  Meredith — the 
latter  being  killed  in  the  first  battle  at  Plymouth  Lake — 
in  command,  came  over  the  mountains  to  defend  the  whites. 
Virginia  City,  Nev.,  then  the  principal  point  of  interest,  and 
hourly  expecting  an  attack  from  the  hostile  Indians,  was  only 
in  its  infancy.  A  stone  hotel  on  C  Street  was  in  course  of 
erection,  and  had  reached  an  elevation  of  two  stories.  This 
was  hastily  transformed  into  a  fort  for  the  protection  of 
the  women  and  children. 

"  From  the  city  the  signal  fires  of  the  Indians  could  be 
seen  on  every  mountain  peak,  and  all  available  men  and 


horses  were  pressed  into  service  to  repel  the  impending 
assault  of  the  savages.  When  I  reached  Reed's  Station,  on 
the  Carson  River,  I  found  no  change  of  horses,  as  all  those 
at  the  station  had  been  seized  by  the  whites  to  take  part  in 
the  approaching  battle.  I  fed  the  animal  that  I  rode,  and 
started  for  the  next  station,  called  Buckland's,  afterward 
known  as  Fort  Churchill,  fifteen  miles  farther  down  the 
river.  This  point  was  to  have  been  the  termination  of  my 
journey  (as  I  had  been  changed  from  my  old  route  to  this 

PONY    BOB.' 

one,  in  which  I  had  had  many  narrow  escapes  and  been  twice 
wounded  by  Indians),  as  I  had  ridden  seventy-five  miles, 
but  to  my  great  astonishment,  the  other  rider  refused  to  go 
on.  The  superintendent,  W.  C.  Marley,  was  at  the  station, 
but  all  his  persuasion  could  not  prevail  on  the  rider,  John- 
nie Richardson,  to  take  the  road.  Turning  then  to  me, 
Marley  said: 

'"Bob,  I  will  give  you  $50  if  you  make  this  ride.' 

"I  replied: 

'"  I  will  go  you  once.' 


"Within  ten  minutes,  when  I  had  adjusted  my  Spencer 
rifle — a  seven-shooter — and  my  Colt's  revolver,  with  two 
cylinders  ready  for  use  in  case  of  an  emergency,  I  started. 
From  the  station  onward  was  a  lonely  and  dangerous  ride 
of  thirty-five  miles,  without  a  change,  to  the  Sink  of  the 
Carson.  I  arrived  there  all  right,  however,  and  pushed  on 
to  Sand's  Spring,  through  an  alkali  bottom  and  sand-hills, 
thirty  miles  farther,  without  a  drop  of  water  all  along  the 
route.  At  Sand's  Springs  I  changed  horses,  and  continued 
on  to  Cold  Springs,  a  distance  of  thirty-seven  miles. 
Another  change,  and  a  ride  of  thirty  miles  more,  brought 
me  to  Smith's  Creek.  Here  I  was  relieved  by  J.  G.  Kelley. 
I  had  ridden  185  miles,  stopping  only  to  eat  and  change 

"After  remaining  at  Smith's  Creek  about  nine  hours, 
I  started  to  retrace  my  journey  with  the  return  express. 
When  I  arrived  at  Cold  Springs,  to  my  horror  I  found  that 
the  station  had  been  attacked  by  Indians,  and  the  keeper 
killed  and  all  the  horses  taken  away.  What  course  to  pur- 
sue I  decided  in  a  moment — I  would  go  on.  I  watered  my 
horse — having  ridden  him  thirty  miles  on  time,  he  was  pretty 
tired — and  started  for  Sand  Springs,  thirty-seven  miles 
away.  It  was  growing  dark,  and  my  road  lay  through 
heavy  sage-brush,  high  enough  in  some  places  to  conceal  a 
horse.  I  kept  a  bright  lookout,  and  closely  watched  every 
motion  of  my  poor  horse's  ears,  which  is  a  signal  for  danger 
in  an  Indian  country.  I  was  prepared  for  a  fight,  but  the 
stillness  of  the  night  and  the  howling  of  the  wolves  and 
coyotes  made  cold  chills  run  through  me  at  times,  but  I 
reached  Sand  Springs  in  safety  and  reported  what  had 
happened.  Before  leaving  I  advised  the  station-keeper  to 
come  with  me  to  the  Sink  of  the  Carson,  for  I  was  sure  the 
Indians  would  be  upon  him  the  next  day.  He  took  my 
advice,  and  so  probably  saved  his  life,  for  the  following 


morning  Smith's  Creek  was  attacked.  The  whites,  however, 
were  well  protected  in  the  shelter  of  a  stone  house,  from 
which  they  fought  the  Indians  for  four  days.  At  the  end 
of  that  time  they  were  relieved  by  the  appearance  of  about 
fifty  volunteers  from  Cold  Springs.  These  men  reported 
that  they  had  buried  John  Williams,  the  brave  station- 
keeper  of  that  station,  but  not  before  he  had  been  nearly 
devoured  by  wolves. 

"When  I  arrived  at  the  Sink  of  the  Carson,  I  found  the 
station  men  badly  frightened,  for  they  had  seen  some  fifty 
warriors,  decked  out  in  their  war-paint  and  reconnoitering 
the  station.  There  were  fifteen  white  men  here,  well  armed 
and  ready  for  a  fight.  The  station  was  built  of  adobe,  and 
was  large  enough  for  the  men  and  ten  or  fifteen  horses, 
with  a  fine  spring  of  water  within  ten  feet  of  it.  I  rested  here 
an  hour,  and  after  dark  started  for  Buckland's,  where  I 
arrived  without  a  mishap  and  only  three  and  a  half  hours 
behind  the  schedule  time.  I  found  Mr.  Marley  at  Buckland's, 
and  when  I  related  to  him  the  story  of  the  Cold  Springs  trag- 
edy and  my  success,  he  raised  his  previous  offer  of  $50  for 
my  ride  to  $100.  I  was  rather  tired,  but  the  excitement  of 
the  trip  had  braced  me  up  to  withstand  the  fatigue  of  the 
journey.  After  the  rest  of  one  and  one-half  hours,  I  pro- 
ceeded over  my  own  route,  from  Buckland's  to  Friday's 
Station,  crossing  the  western  summit  of  the  Sierra  Nevada. 
I  had  traveled  380  miles  within  a  few  hours  of  schedule 
time,  and  surrounded  by  perils  on  every  hand." 

After  the  "  Overland  Pony  Express  "  was  discontinued, 
"  Pony  Bob  "  was  employed  by  Wells,  Fargo  &  Co.,  as  a 
pony  express  rider,  in  the  prosecution  of  their  transporta- 
tion business.  His  route  was  between  Virginia  City,  Nev., 
and  Friday's  Station,  and  return,  about  one  hundred  miles, 
every  twenty-four  hours,  schedule  time  ten  hours.  This 
engagement  continued  for  more  than  a  year;  but  as  the 


Union  Pacific  Railway  gradually  extended  its  line  and 
operations,  the  pony  express  business  as  gradually  dimin- 
ished. Finally  the  track  was  completed  to  Reno,  Nev., 
twenty-three  miles  from  Virginia  City,  and  over  this  route 
"  Pony  Bob  "  rode  for  over  six  months,  making  the  run 
every  day,  with  fifteen  horses,  inside  of  one  hour.  When 
the  telegraph  line  was  completed,  the  pony  express  over 
this  route  was  withdrawn,  and  "  Pony  Bob  "  was  sent  to 
Idaho,  to  ride  the  company's  express  route  of  ioo  miles, 
with  one  horse,  from  Queen's  River  to  the  Owhyee  River. 
He  was  at  the  former  station  when  Major  McDermott  was 
killed,  at  the  breaking  out  of  the  Modoc  war.  On  one  of 
his  rides  he  passed  the  remains  of  ninety  Chinamen  who 
had  been  killed  by  the  Indians,  only  one  escaping  to  tell 
the  tale,  and  whose  bodies  lay  bleaching  in  the  sun  for  a 
distance  of  more  than  ten  miles  from  the  mouth  of  Ive's 
Canon  to  Crooked  Creek.  This  was  "  Pony  Bob's "  last 
experience  as  a  pony  express  rider.  His  successor,  Sye 
Macaulas,  was  killed  the  first  trip  he  tried  to  make.  Bob 
bought  a  Flathead  Indian  pony  at  Boise  City,  Idaho,  and 
started  for  Salt  Lake  City,  400  miles  away,  where  his 
brother-in-law,  Joshua  Hosmer,  was  United  States  Marshal. 
Fere  "  Pony  Bob  "  was  appointed  a  deputy,  but  not  liking 
the  business,  was  again  employed  by  Theodore  Tracy — 
Wells-Fargo's  agent — as  first  messenger  from  that  city  to 
Denver  after  Ben  Holliday  had  sold  out  to  Wells,  Fargo  & 
Co. — a  distance  of  720  miles  by  stage — which  position 
Bob  filled  a  long  time. 

"  Pony  Bob  "  is  now  a  resident  of  Chicago,  where  he  is 
engaged  in  business. 



During  the  winter  of  1859,  Mr.  W.  H.  Russell,  of  our 
firm,  while  in  Washington,  D.  C,  met  and  became 
acquainted  with  Senator  Gwin  of  California.  The  Senator 
was  very  anxious  to  establish  a  line  of  communication 
between  California  and  the  States  east  of  the  Rocky  Mount- 
ains, which  would  be  more  direct  than  that  known  as  the 
Butterfield  route,  running  at  that  time  from  San  Francisco 
via  Los  Angeles,  Cal.;  thence  across  the  Colorado  River 
and  up  the  valley  of  the  Gila;  thence  via  El  Paso  and 
through  Texas,  crossing  the  Arkansas  River  at  Fort  Gib- 
son, and  thence  to  St.  Louis,  Mo. 

This  route,  the  Senator  claimed,  was  entirely  too  long; 
that  the  requirements  of  California  demanded  a  more  direct 
route,  which  would  make  quicker  passage  than  could  be 
made  on  such  a  circuitous  route  as  the  Butterfield  line. 

Knowing  that  Russell,  Majors  &  Waddell  were  running 
a  daily  stage  between  the  Missouri  River  and  Salt  Lake 
City,  and  that  they  were  also  heavily  engaged  in  the  trans- 
portation of  Government  stores  on  the  same  line,  he  asked 
Mr.  Russell  if  his  company  could  not  be  induced  to  start  a 
pony  express,  to  run  over  its  stage  line  to  Salt  Lake  City, 
and  from  thence  to  Sacramento;  his  object  being  to  test 
the  practicability  of  crossing  the  Sierra  Nevadas,  as  well 
as  the  Rocky  Mountains,  with  a  daily  line  of  communica- 

After  various  consultations  between  these  gentlemen, 
from  time  to  time,  the  Senator  urging  the  great  necessity 



of  such  an  experiment,  Mr.  Russell  consented  to  take  hold 
of  the  enterprise,  provided  he  could  get  his  partners,  Mr. 
Waddell  and  myself,  to  join  him. 

With  this  understanding,  he  left  Washington  and  came 
west  to  Fort  Leavenworth,  Kan.,  to  consult  us.  After  he 
explained  the  object  of  the  enterprise,  and  we  had  well 
considered  it,  we  both  decided  that  it  could  not  be  made  to 
pay  expenses.  This  decision  threw  quite  a.  damper  upon 
the  ardor  of  Mr.  Russell,  and  he  strenuously  insisted  we 
should  stand  by  him,  as  he  had  committed  himself  to  Sena- 
tor Gwin  before  leaving  Washington,  assuring  him  he 
could  get  his  partners  to  join  him,  and  that  he  might  rely 
on  the  project  being  carried  through,  and  saying  it  would 
be  very  humiliating  to  his  pride  to  return  to  Washington 
and  be  compelled  to  say  the  scheme  had  fallen  through 
from  lack  of  his  partners'  confidence. 

He  urged  us  to  reconsider,  stating  the  importance 
attached  to  such  an  undertaking,  and  relating  the  facts 
Senator  Gwin  had  laid  before  him,  which  were  that  all  his 
attempts  to  get  a  direct  thoroughfare  opened  between  the 
State  of  California  and  the  Eastern  States  had  proved 
abortive,  for  the  reason  that  when  the  question  of  estab- 
lishing a  permanent  central  route  came  up,  his  colleagues, 
or  fellow  senators,  raised  the  question  of  the  impassability 
of  the  mountains  on  such  a  route  during  the  winter 
months;  that  the  members  from  the  Northern  States  were 
opposed  to  giving  the  whole  prestige  of  such  a  thorough- 
fare to  the  extreme  southern  route;  that  this  being  the 
case,  it  had  actually  become  a  necessity  to  demonstrate,  if 
it  were  possible  to  do  so,  that  a  central  or  middle  route 
could  be  made  practicable  during  the  winter  as  well  as 
summer  months.  That  as  soon  as  we  demonstrated  the 
feasibility  of  such  a  scheme  he  (Senator  Gwin)  would  use 
all  his  influence  with  Congress  to  get  a  subsidy  to  help  pay 


the  expenses  of  such  a  line  on  the  thirty-ninth  to  forty-first 
parallel  of  latitude,  which  would  be  central  between  the 
extreme  north  and  south;  that  he  could  not  ask  for  the 
subsidy  at  the  start  with  any  hope  of  success,  as  the  public 
mind  had  already  accepted  the  idea  that  such  a  route  open 
at  all  seasons  of  the  year  was  an  impossibility;  that  as 
soon  as  we  proved  to  the  contrary,  he  would  come  to  our 
aid  with  a  subsidy. 

After  listening  to  all  Mr.  Russell  had  to  say  upon  the 
subject,  we  concluded  to  sustain  him  in  the  undertaking, 
and  immediately  went  to  work  to  organize  what  has  since 
been  known  as  "  The  Pony  Express." 

As  above  stated,  we  were  already  running  a  daily  stage 
between  the  Missouri  River  and  Salt  Lake  City,  and  along 
this  line  stations  were  located  every  ten  or  twelve  miles, 
which  we  utilized  for  the  Pony  Express,  but  were  obliged 
to  build  stations  between  Salt  Lake  City  and  Sacramento, 

Within  sixty  days  or  thereabouts  from  the  time  we 
agreed  to  undertake  the  enterprise,  we  were  ready  to  start 
ponies,  one  from  St.  Joseph,  Mo.,  and  the  other  from  Sac- 
ramento, Cal.,  on  the  same  day.  At  that  time  there  was 
telegraphic  communication  between  the  East  and  St. 
Joseph,  Mo.,  and  between  San  Francisco  and  Sacra- 
mento, Cal. 

The  quickest  time  that  had  ever  been  made  with  any 
message  between  San  Francisco  and  New  York,  over  the 
Butterfield  line,  which  was  the  southern  route,  was  twenty- 
one  days.  Our  Pony  Express  shortened  the  time  to  ten 
days,  which  was  our  schedule  time,  without  a  single  failure, 
being  a  difference  of  eleven  days. 

To  do  the  work  of  the  Pony  Express  required  between 
four  hundred  and  five  hundred  horses,  about  one  hundred 
ami  ninety  stations,  two  hundred  men  for  station-keepers, 


and  eighty  riders;  riders  made  an  average  ride  of  thirty- 
three  and  one-third  miles.  In  doing  this  each  man  rode  three 
ponies  on  his  part  of  the  route;  some  of  the  riders,  how- 
ever, rode  much  greater  distances  in  times  of  emergency. 

The  Pony  Express  carried  messages  written  on  tissue 
paper,  weighing  one-half  ounce,  a  charge  of  $5  being 
made  for  each  dispatch  carried. 

As  anticipated,  the  amount  of  business  transacted  over 
this  line  was  not  sufficient  to  pay  one-tenth  of  the  expenses, 
to  say  nothing  about  the  amount  of  capital  invested.  In 
this,  however,  we  were  not  disappointed,  for  we  knew,  as 
stated  in  the  outset,  that  it  could  not  be  made  a  paying 
institution,  and  was  undertaken  solely  to  prove  that  the 
route  over  which  it  ran  could  be  made  a  permanent 
thoroughfare  for  travel  at  all  seasons  of  the  year,  proving, 
as  far  as  the  paramount  object  was  concerned,  a  complete 

Two  important  events  transpired  during  the  term  of  the 
Pony's  existence;  one  was  the  carrying  of  President  Bu- 
chanan's last  message  to  Congress,  in  December,  i860, 
from  the  Missouri  River  to  Sacramento,  a  distance  of  two 
thousand  miles,  in  eight  days  and  some  hours.  The  other 
was  the  carrying  of  President  Lincoln's  inaugural  address 
of  March  4,  1861,  over  the  same  route  in  seven  days  and,  I 
think,  seventeen  hours,  being  the  quickest  time,  taking  the 
distance  into  consideration,  on  record  in  this  or  any  other 
country,  as  far  as  I  know. 

One  of  the  most  remarkable  feats  ever  accomplished 
was  made  by  F.  X.  Aubery,  who  traveled  the  distance  of 
800  miles,  between  Santa  Fe,  N.  M.,  and  Independence, 
Mo.,  in  five  days  and  thirteen  hours.  This  ride,  in  my 
opinion,  in  one  respect  was  the  most  remarkable  one  ever 
made  by  any  man.  The  entire  distance  was  ridden  with- 
out stopping  to  rest,  and  having  a  change  of  horses  only 


once  iii  every  one  hundred  or  two  hundred  miles.  He  kept 
a  lead  horse  by  his  side  most  of  the  time,  so  that  when  the 
one  he  was  riding  gave  out  entirely,  he  changed  the  saddle 
to  the  extra  horse,  left  the  horse  he  had  been  riding  and 
went  on  again  at  full  speed. 

At  the  time  he  made  this  ride,  in  much  of  the  territory 
he  passed  through  he  was  liable  to  meet  hostile  Indians, 
so  that  his  adventure  was  daring  in  more  ways  than  one. 
In  the  first  place,  the  man  who  attempted  to  ride  800 
miles  in  the  time  he  did  took  his  life  in  his  hands.  There 
is  perhaps  not  one  man  in  a  million  who  could  have  lived 
to  finish  such  a  journey. 

Mr.  Aubery  was  a  Canadian  Frenchman,  of  low  stature, 
short  limbs,  built,  to  use  a  homely  simile,  like  a  jack-screw, 
and  was  in  the  very  zenith  of  his  manhood,  full  of  pluck 
and  daring. 

It  was  said  he  made  this  ride  upon  a  bet  of  $1,000  that 
he  could  cover  the  distance  in  eight  days. 

One  year  previous  to  this,  in  1852,  he  made  a  bet  he 
could  do  the  same  distance  in  ten  days.  The  result  was 
he  traveled  it  in  a  little  over  eight  days,  hence  his  bet  he 
could  make  the  ride  in  1853  in  eight  days,  the  result  of  that 
trip  showing  he  consumed  little  more  than  half  that  time. 

I  was  well  acquainted  with  and  did  considerable  business 
with  Aubery  during  his  years  of  freighting.  I  met  him 
when  he  was  making  his  famous  ride,  at  a  point  on  the 
Santa  Fe  Road  called  Rabbit  Ear.  He  passed  my  train 
at  a  ful!  gallop  without  asking  a  single  question  as  to  the 
danger  of  Indians  ahead  of  him. 

After  his  business  between  St.  Louis  and  Santa  Fe 
ceased,  his  love  for  adventure  and  his  daring  enterprise 
prompted  him  to  make  a  trip  from  New  Mexico  to  Califor- 
nia with  sheep,  which  he  disposed  of  at  good  prices,  and 
returned  to  New  Mexico. 


Immediately  upon  his  return  he  met  a  friend,  a  Major 
Weightman  of  the  United  States  Army,  who  was  a  great 
admirer  of  his  pluck  and  daring.  Weightman  was  at  that 
time  editor  of  a  small  paper  called  the  Santa  Fe  Herald. 
At  their  meeting,  as  was  the  custom  of  the  time,  they  called 
for  drink's.  Their  glasses  were  filled  and  they  were  ready  to 
drink, when  Aubery  asked  Weightman  why  he  had  published 
a  damned  lie  about  his  trip  to  California.  Instead  of  tak- 
ing his  drink,  Weightman  tossed  the  contents  of  his  glass 
in  Aubery's  face.  Aubery  made  a  motion  to  draw  his  pis- 
tol and  shoot,  when  Weightman,  knowing  the  danger,  drew 
his  knife  and  stabbed  Aubery  through  the  heart,  from  which 
blow  he  dropped  dead  upon  the  floor. 

The  whole  affair  was  enacted  in  one  or  two  seconds. 
From  the  time  they  started  to  take  a  friendly  drink  till 
Aubery  was  lying  dead  on  the  floor  less  time  elapsed  than 
it  takes  to  tell  the  story. 

This  tragedy  was  the  result  of  rash  words  hastily  spoken, 
and  proves  that  friends,  as  well  as  enemies,  should  be  care- 
ful and  considerate  in  the  language  they  use  toward  others. 

In  the  spring  of  i860  Bolivar  Roberts,  superintendent 
of  the  Western  Division  of  the  Pony  Express,  came  to  Car- 
son City,  Nev.,  which  was  then  in  St.  Mary's  County, 
Utah,  to  engage  riders  and  station  men  for  a  pony  express 
route  about  to  be  established  across  the  great  plains  by 
Russell,  Majors  &  Waddell.  In  a  few  days  fifty  or  sixty 
men  were  engaged,  and  started  out  across  the  Great  Amer- 
ican Desert  to  establish  stations,  etc.  Among  that  num- 
ber the  writer  can  recall  to  memory  the  following:  Bob 
Haslam  ("Pony  Bob"),  Jay  G.  Kelley,  Sam  Gilson,  Jim 
Gilson,  Jim  McNaughton,  Bill  McNaughton,  Jose  Zowgaltz, 
Mike  Kelley,  Jimmy  Buckton,  and  "Irish  Tom."  At  present 
"Pony  Bob"  is  living  on  "the  fat  of  the  land"  in  Chicago. 
Sam  and  Jim  Gilson  are  mining  in  Utah,  and  all  the  old 



"Pony"  boys  will  rejoice  to  know  they  are  now  millionaires. 
The  new  mineral,  gilsonite,  was  discovered  by  Sam  Gilson. 
Mike  Kelley  is  mining  in  Austin,  Nev.;  Jimmy  Bucklin, 
"Black  Sam,"  and  the  McNaughton  boys  are  dead.  Will- 
iam Carr  was  hanged  in  Carson  City,  for  the  murder  of  Ber- 
nard Cherry,  his  unfortunate  death  being  the  culmination 
of  a  quarrel  begun  months  before,  at  Smith  Creek  Station. 
His  was  the  first  legal  hanging  in  the  Territory,  the  sen- 
tence being  passed  by  Judge  Cradlebaugh. 

J.  G.  Kelley  has  had  a  varied  experience,  and  is  now 
fifty-four  years  of  age,  an  eminent  mining  engineer  and 
mineralogist,  residing  in  Denver,  Colo.  In  recalling 
many  reminiscences  of  the  plains  in  the  early  days,  I  will  let 
him  tell  the  story  in  his  own  language: 

"Yes,"  he  said,  "I  was  a  pony  express  rider  in  i860,  and 
went  out  with  Bol  Roberts  (one  of  the  best  men  that  ever 
lived),  and  I  tell  you  it  was  no  picnic.  No  amount  of  money 
could  tempt  me  to  repeat  my  experience  of  those  days.  To 
begin  with,  we  had  to  build  willow  roads  (corduroy  fash- 
ion) across  many  places  along  the  Carson  River,  carrying 
bundles  of  willows  two  and  three  hundred  yards  in  our 
arms,  while  the  mosquitoes  were  so  thick  it  was  difficult  to 
discern  whether  the  man  was  white  or  black,  so  thickly 
were  they  piled  on  his  neck,  face,  and  hands. 

"Arriving  at  the  Sink  of  the  Carson  River,  we  began  the 
erection  of  a  fort  to  protect  us  from  the  Indians.  As  there 
were  no  rocks  or  logs  in  that  vicinity,  the  fort  was  built  of 
adobes,  made  from  the  mud  on  the  shores  of  the  lake.  To 
mix  this  mud  and  get  it  the  proper  consistency  to  mold 
into  adobes  (dried  brick),  we  tramped  around  all  day  in  it 
in  our  bare  feet.  This  we  did  for  a  week  or  more,  and  the 
mud  being  strongly  impregnated  with  alkali  (carbonate  of 
soda),  you  can  imagine  the  condition  of  our  feet.  They 
were  much  swollen,  and  resembled  hams.    Before  that  time 


I  wore  No.  6  boots,  but  ever  since  then  No.  9s  fit  me 

"  This  may,  in  a  measure,  account  for  Bob  Haslam's 
selection  of  a  residence  in  Chicago,  as  he  helped  us  make 
the  adobes,  and  the  size  of  his  feet  would  thereafter  be  less 
noticeable  there  than  elsewhere. 

"We  next  built  a  fort  of  stone  at  Sand  Springs,  twenty- 
five  miles  from  Carson  Lake,  and  another  at  Cold  Springs, 
thirty-seven  miles  east  of  Sand  Springs. 

"  At  the  latter  station  I  was  assigned  to  duty  as  assist- 
ant station-keeper,  under  Jim  McNaughton.  The  war 
against  the  Piute  Indians  was  then  at  its  height,  and  we 
were  in  the  middle  of  the  Piute  country,  which  made  it 
necessary  for  us  to  keep  a  standing  guard  night  and  day. 
The  Indians  were  often  seen  skulking  around,  but  none  of 
them  ever  came  near  enough  for  us  to  get  a  shot  at  them, 
till  one  dark  night,  when  I  was  on  guard,  I  noticed  one  of 
our  horses  prick  up  his  ears  and  stare.  I  looked  in  the 
direction  indicated  and  saw  an  Indian's  head  projecting 
above  the  wall. 

"  My  instructions  were  to  shoot  if  I  saw  an  Indian  within 
shooting  distance,  as  that  would  wake  the  boys  quicker 
than  anything  else;  so  I  fired  and  missed  my  man. 

"Later  on  we  saw  the  Indian  camp-fires  on  the  mountain, 
and  in  the  morning  saw  many  tracks.  They  evidently 
intended  to  stampede  our  horses,  and  if  necessary  kill  us. 
The  next  day  one  of  our  riders,  a  Mexican,  rode  into  camp 
with  a  bullet  hole  through  him  from  the  left  to  the  right 
side,  having  been  shot  by  Indians  while  coming  down 
Edwards  Creek,  in  the  Quakcnasp  bottom.  This  he  told 
us  as  we  assisted  him  off  his  horse.  He  was  tenderly  cared 
for,  but  died  before  surgical  aid  could  reach  him. 

"  As  I  was  the  lightest  man  at  the  station,  I  was  ordered 
to  take  the  Mexican's  place  on  the  route.     My  weight  was 


then  ioo  pounds,  while  now  I  weigh  230.  Two  days 
after  taking  the  route,  on  my  return  trip,  I  had  to  ride 
through  the  forest  of  quakenasp  trees  where  the  Mexican 
had  been  shot.  A  trail  had  been  cut  through  these  little 
trees,  just  wide  enough  to  allow  horse  and  rider  to  pass. 
As  the  road  was  crooked  and  the  branches  came  together 
from  either  side,  just  above  my  head  when  mounted,  it  was 
impossible  to  see  ahead  more  than  ten  or  fifteen  yards,  and 
it  was  two  miles  through  the  forest. 

"  I  expected  to  have  trouble,  and  prepared  for  it  by 
dropping  my  bridle  reins  on  the  neck  of  the  horse,  put  my 
Sharp's  rifle  at  full  cock,  kept  both  spurs  into  the  flanks, 
and  he  went  through  that  forest  like  a  '  streak  of  greased 

"At  the  top  of  the  hill  I  dismounted  to  rest  my  horse, 
and  looking  back,  saw  the  bushes  moving  in  several  places. 
As  there  were  no  cattle  or  game  in  that  vicinity,  I  knew 
the  movements  must  be  caused  by  Indians,  and  was  more 
positive  of  it  when,  after  firing  several  shots  at  the  spot 
where  I  saw  the  bushes  moving,  all  agitation  ceased. 
Several  days  after  that,  two  United  States  soldiers,  who 
were  on  their  way  to  their  command,  were  shot  and  killed 
from  the  ambush  of  those  bushes,  and  stripped  of  their 
clothing,  by  the  red  devils. 

"  One  of  my  rides  was  the  longest  on  the  route.  I  refer 
to  the  road  between  Cold  Springs  and  Sand  Springs,  thirty- 
seven  miles,  and  not  a  drop  of  water.  It  was  on  this  ride 
that  I  made  a  trip  which  possibly  gave  to  our  company  the 
contract  for  carrying  the  mail  by  stage-coach  across  the 
plains,  a  contract  that  was  largely  subsidized  by  Congress. 

"One  day  I  trotted  into  Sand  Springs  covered  with  dust 
and  perspiration.  Before  reaching  the  station  I  saw  a  num- 
ber of  men  running  toward  me,  all  carrying  rifles,  and  as  I 
supposed   they   took   me   for  an   Indian,  I  stopped    and 


threw  up  my  hands.  It  seemed  they  had  a  spy-glass  in 
camp,  and  recognizing  me  had  come  to  the  conclusion  I 
was  being  run  in  by  Piutes  and  were  coming  to  my  rescue. 

"  Bob  Haslam  was  at  the  station,  and  in  less  than  one 
minute  relieved  me  of  my  mail-pouch  and  was  flying  west- 
ward over  the  plains.  Some  of  the  boys  had  several  fights 
with  Indians,  but  they  did  not  trouble  us  as  much  as  we 
expected;  personally  I  only  met  them  once  face  to  face.  I 
was  rounding  a  bend  in  the  mountains,  and  before  1  knew 
it,  was  in  a  camp  of  Piute  Indians.  Buffalo  Jim,  the  chief, 
came  toward  me  alone.  He  spoke  good  English,  and  when 
within  ten  yards  of  me  I  told  him  to  stop,  which  he  did,  and 
told  me  he  wanted  'tobac'  (tobacco).  I  gave  him  half  I 
had,  but  the  old  fellow  wanted  it  all,  and  I  finally  refused  to 
give  him  any  more;  he  then  made  another  step  toward  me, 
saying  that  he  wanted  to  look  at  my  gun.  I  pulled  the  gun 
out  of  the  saddle-hock  and  again  told  him  to  stop.  He 
evidently  saw  that  I  meant  business,  for,  with  a  wave  of  his 
hand,  he  said:  'All  right,  you  pooty  good  boy;  you  go.' 
I  did  not  need  a  second  order,  and  quickly  as  possible  rode 
out  of  their  presence,  looking  back,  however,  as  long  as 
they  were  in  sight,  and  keeping  my  rifle  handy. 

"  As  I  look  back  on  those  times  I  often  wonder  that  we 
were  not  all  killed.  A  short  time  before,  Major  Ormsby  of 
Carson  City,  in  command  of  seventy-five  or  eighty  men, 
went  to  Pyramid  Lake  to  give  battle  to  the  Piutes,  who  had 
been  killing  emigrants  and  prospectors  by  the  wholesale. 
Nearly  all  the  command  were  killed  in  a  running  fight  of 
sixteen  miles.  In  the  fight  Major  Ormsby  and  the  lamented 
Harry  Meredith  were  killed.  Another  regiment  of  about 
seven  hundred  men,  under  the  command  of  Col.  Daniel  E. 
Hungerford  and  Jack  Hayes,  the  noted  Texas  ranger,  was 
raised.  Hungerford  was  the  beau  ideal  of  a  soldier,  the  hero 
of  three  wars,  and  one  of  the  best  tacticians  of  his  time.   This 


command  drove  the  Indians  pell-mell  for  three  miles  to 
Mud  Lake,  killing  and  wounding  them  at  every  jump.  Col- 
onel Hungerford  and  Jack  Hayes  received,  and  were  entitled 
to,  great  praise,  for  at  the  close  of  the  war  terms  were  made 
which  have  kept  the  Indians  peaceable  ever  since.  Jack 
Hayes  died  several  years  since  in  Alameda,  Cal.  Colonel 
Hungerford,  at  the  ripe  age  of  seventy  years,  is  hale  and 
hearty,  enjoying  life  and  resting  on  his  laurels  in  Italy, 
where  he  resides  with  his  granddaughter,  the  Princess 

"  As  previously  stated,  it  is  marvelous  that  the  pony  boys 
were  not  all  killed.  There  were  only  four  men  at  each  sta- 
tion, and  the  Indians,  who  were  then  hostile,  roamed  all 
over  the  country  in  bands  of  30  to  100. 

"What  I  consider  my  most  narrow  escape  from  death 
was  being  shot  at  one  night  by  a  lot  of  fool  emigrants, 
who,  when  I  took  them  to  task  about  it  on  my  return  trip, 
excused  themselves  by  saying,  '  We  thought  you  was  an 

"  I  want  to  say  one  good  word  for  our  bosses,  Messrs. 
Russell,  Majors  &  Waddell.  The  boys  had  the  greatest 
veneration  for  them  because  of  their  general  good  treat- 
ment at  their  hands.  They  were  different  in  many  respects 
from  all  other  freighters  on  the  plains,  who,  as  a  class,  were 
boisterous,  blasphemous,  and  good  patrons  of  the  bottle, 
while  Russell,  Majors  &  Waddell  were  God-fearing, 
religious,  and  temperate  themselves,  and  were  careful  to 
engage  none  in  their  employ  who  did  not  come  up  to  their 
standard  of  morality. 

"Calf-bound  Bibles  were  distributed  by  them  to  every 
employe.  The  one  given  to  me  was  kept  till  1881,  and  was 
then  presented  to  Ionic  Lodge  No.  35,  A.  F.  &  A.  M.,  at 
Leadville,  Colo. 

THE    PONY    EXPRESS    AND    ITS    DRAVE    RIDERS.  193 

"  The  Pony  Express  was  a  great  undertaking  at  the  time, 
and  was  the  foundation  of  the  mail-coach  and  railroad  that 
quickly  followed." 

During  the  war  J.  G.  Kelley  was  commissioned  by  Gov. 
James  W.  Nye  as  captain  of  Company  C,  Nevada  Infantry, 
and  served  till  the  end  of  the  war,  after  which  he  resumed 
his  old  business  of  mining,  and  is  still  engaged  in  it. 




It  was  the  afternoon  of  a  day  in  early  summer,  along 
in  1859,  when  we  found  ourselves  drifting  in  a  boat  down 
the  Missouri.  The  morning  broke  with  a  drizzling  rain, 
out  of  a  night  that  had  been  tempestuous,  with  a  fierce 
gale,  heavy  thunder,  and  unusually  terrific  lightning. 
Gradually  the  rain  stopped,  and  we  had  gone  but  a  short 
distance  when  the  clouds  broke  away,  the  sun  shone  forth, 
and  the  earth  appeared  glistening  with  a  new  beauty. 
Ahead  of  us  appeared,  high  up  on  the  bluffs,  a  clump  of 
trees  and  bushes. 

As  we  drew  near,  a  sudden  caprice  seized  us,  and  shoot- 
ing our  boat  up  on  the  shelving  bank,  we  secured  it,  and 
then  climbed  the  steep  embankment.  We  intended  to 
knock  around  in  the  brush  a  little  while,  and  then  resume 
our  trip.  A  fine  specimen  of  an  eagle  caught  our  eye, 
perched  high  up  on  the  dead  bough  of  a  tree. 

Moving  around  to  get  a  good  position  to  pick  him  off 
with  my  rifle,  so  that  his  body  would  not  be  torn,  I  caught 
sight  through  an  opening  of  the  trees  of  an  immense  herd 
of  buffaloes,  browsing  and  moving  slowly  in  our  direction. 
We  moved  forward  a  little  to  get  a  better  view  of  the  herd, 
when  the  eagle,  unaware  to  us,  spread  his  pinions,  and 
when  we  looked  again  for  him  he  was  soaring  at  a  safe 
distance  from  our  rifles. 

We  were  on  the  leeward  side  of  the  herd,  and  so  safe 
from  discovery,  if  we  took  ordinary  precaution,  among  the 
trees.     It  was  a  fine  spectacle  which  they  presented,  and, 


THE    BATTLE    OF    THE    BUFFALOES.  195 

what  was  more,  we  were  in  just  the  mood  to  watch  them. 
The  land  undulated,  but  was  covered  for  many  acres  with 
minute  undulations  of  dark-brown  shoulders  slowly  drift- 
ing toward  us.  We  could  hear  the  rasping  sound  which 
innumerable  mouths  made  chopping  the  crisp  grass.  As 
we  looked,  our  ears  caught  a  low,  faint,  rhythmical  sound, 
borne  to  us  from  afar. 

We  listened  intently.  The  sound  grew  more  distinct, 
until  we  could  recognize  the  tread  of  another  herd  of 
buffaloes  coming  from  an  opposite  direction. 

We  skulked  low  through  the  undergrowth,  and  came  to 
the  edge  of  the  wooded  patch  just  in  time  to  see  the  van  of 
this  new  herd  surmounting  a  hill.  The  herd  was  evidently 
spending  its  force,  having  already  run  for  miles.  It  came 
with  a  lessening  speed,  until  it  settled  down  to  a  comfort- 
able walk. 

About  the  same  time  the  two  herds  discovered  each 
other.  Our  herd  was  at  first  a  little  startled,  but  after  a 
brief  inspection  of  the  approaching  mass,  the  work  of 
clipping  the  grass  of  the  prairies  was  resumed.  The  fresh 
arrivals  came  to  a  standstill,  and  gazed  at  the  thousands  of 
their  fellows,  who  evidently  had  preempted  their  grazing 
grounds.  Apparently  they  reached  the  conclusion  that 
that  region  was  common  property,  for  they  soon  lowered 
their  heads  and  began  to  shave  the  face  of  the  earth  of  its 
green  growths. 

The  space  separating  the  herds  slowly  lessened.  The 
outermost  fringes  touched  but  a  short  distance  from  our 
point  of  observation.  It  was  not  like  the  fringes  of  a 
lady's  dress  coming  in  contact  with  the  lace  drapery  of  a 
window,  I  can  assure  you.  Nothing  so  soft  and  sibilant  as 
that.  It  was  more  like  the  fringes  of  freight  engines  com- 
ing in  contact  with  each  other  when  they  approach  with 
some  momentum  on  the  same  track. 


The  powerful  bulls  had  unwittingly  found  themselves  in 
close  proximity  to  each  other,  coming  from  either  herd. 
Suddenly  shooting  up  from  the  sides  of  the  one  whose  herd 
was  on  the  ground  first,  flumes  of  dirt  made  graceful  curves 
in  the  air.  They  were  the  signals  for  hostilities  to  com- 
mence. The  hoofs  of  the  powerful  beast  were  assisted  by 
his  small  horns,  which  dug  the  sod  and  tossed  bunches 
that  settled  out  of  the  air  in  his  shaggy  mane. 

These  belligerent  demonstrations  were  responded  to  in 
quite  as  defiant  a  fashion  by  the  late  arrival.  He,  too,  was 
an  enormous  affair.  We  noticed  his  unusual  proportions  of 
head.  But  his  shoulders,  with  their  great  manes,  were 
worth  displaying  to  excite  admiration  and  awe  at  theif 
possibilities,  if  they  could  do  nothing  more. 

Unquestionably  the  two  fellows  regarded  themselves  as 
representative  of  their  different  herds,  the  one  first  on  the 
ground  viewing  the  other  as  an  interloper,  and  he  in  his 
turn  looking  upon  the  former  as  reigning,  because  no  one 
had  the  spirit  to  contest  his  supremacy  and  show  him  where 
he  belonged.  They  sidled  up  near  each  other,  their  heads 
all  the  while  kept  low  to  the  ground,  and  their  eyes  red 
with  anger  and  rolling  in  fiery  fury.  This  display  of  the 
preliminaries  of  battle  drew  the  attention  of  an  increasing- 
number  from  either  herd.  At  first  they  would  look  up,  then 
recommence  their  eating,  and  then  direct  their  attention 
more  intensely  as  the  combatants  began  to  measure  their 
strength  more  closely.  And  when  the  fight  was  on  they 
became  quite  absorbed  in  the  varying  fortunes  of  the 

At  last  the  two  huge  fellows,  after  a  good  deal  of  cir- 
cumlocution, made  the  grand  rush.  I  reckon  it  would  be 
your  everlasting  fortune  if  one  of  you  college  fellows  who 
play  football  had  the  force  to  make  the  great  rush  which 
either  one  of  these  animals  presented.     The  collision  was 

THE    BATTLE    OF    THE    BUFFALOES.  197 

straight  and  square.  A  crash  of  horns,  a  heavy,  dull  thud 
of  heads.  We  thought  surely  the  skull  of  one  or  the  other, 
or  possibly  both,  was  crushed  in.  But  evidently  they  were 
not  even  hurt. 

Didn't  they  push  then?  Well,  I  guess  they  did.  The 
force  would  have  shoved  an  old-fashioned  barn  from  its 
foundations.  The  muscles  swelled  up  on  the  thighs,  the 
hoofs  sank  into  the  earth,  but  they  were  evenly  matched. 

For  a  moment  there  was  a  mutual  cessation  of  hostilities 
to  get  breath.  Then  they  came  together  with  a  more 
resounding  crash  than  before.  Instantly  we  perceived  that 
the  meeting  of  the  heads  was  not  square.  The  new  cham- 
pion had  the  best  position.  Like  a  flash  he  recognized  it 
and  redoubled  his  efforts  to  take  its  full  advantage. 
The  other  appeared  to  quadruple  his  efforts  to  maintain 
himself  in  position,  and  his  muscles  bulged  out,  but  his 
antagonist  made  a  sudden  move  which  wrenched  his  head 
still  farther  off  the  line,  when  he  went  down  on  his  knees. 
That  settled  the  contest,  for  his  enemy  was  upon  him 
before  he  could  recover.  He  was  thrown  aside  and  his 
flank  raked  by  several  ugly  upward  thrusts  of  his  foe, 
which  left  him  torn  and  bruised,  all  in  a  heap.  As  quick 
as  he  could  get  on  his  feet  he  limped,  crestfallen,  away. 

The  victorious  fellow  lashed  his  small  tail,  tossed  his 
head,  and  moved  in  all  the  pride  of  his  contest  up  and 
down  through  the  ranks  of  his  adversary's  herd.  How 
exultant  he  was!  We  took  it  to  be  rank  impudence,  and 
though  he  had  exhibited  some  heroic  qualities  of  strength 
and  daring,  it  displeased  us  to  see  him  take  on  so  many  airs 
on  account  of  his  victory. 

But  his  conquest  of  the  field  was  not  yet  entirely  com- 
plete. As  he  strode  proudly  along  his  progress  was  stopped 
by  a  loud  snort,  and,  looking  aside,  he  saw  a  fresh  challenge. 
There,  standing  out  in  full  view,  was  another  bull,  a  mon- 


ster  of  a  fellow  belonging  to  his  late  enemy's  herd.  He 
pawed  the  earth  with  great  strokes  and  sent  rockets  of  turf 
curving  high  in  air,  some  of  which  sifted  its  fine  soil  down 
upon  the  nose  of  the  victor. 

As  we  looked  at  this  new  challenger  and  took  in  his 
immense  form,  we  chuckled  with  the  assurance  that  the 
haughty  fellow  would  now  have  some  decent  humility 
imposed  upon  him.  The  conqueror  himself  must  have 
been  impressed  with  the  formidableness  of  his  new  antag- 
onist, for  there  was  a  change  in  his  demeanor  at  once.  Of 
course,  according  to  a  well-established  buffalo  code,  he 
could  do  nothing  but  accept  the  challenge. 

Space  was  cleared  as  the  two  monsters  went  through 
their  gyrations,  their  tossings  of  earth,  their  lashings  of  tail, 
their  snorts  and  their  low  bellows.  This  appeared  to  them 
a  more  serious  contest  than  the  former,  if  we  could  judge 
from  the  length  of  the  introductory  part.  They  took  more 
time  before  they  settled  down  to  business.  We  were  of 
the  opinion  that  the  delay  was  caused  by  the  champion, 
who  resorted  to  small  arts  to  prolong  the  preliminaries. 
We  watched  it  all  with  the  most  excited  interest.  It  had 
all  the  thrilling  features  of  a  Spanish  bull-fight  without  the 
latter's  degradation  of  man.  Here  was  the  level  of  nature. 
Here  the  true  buffalo  instincts  with  their  native  temper 
were  exhibiting  themselves  in  the  most  emphatic  and  vig- 
orous fashion.  It  was  the  buffalo's  trial  of  nerve,  strength, 
and  skill.  Numberless  as  must  have  been  these  tourna- 
ments, in  which  the  champions  of  different  herds  met  to 
decide  which  was  superior,  in  the  long  ages  during  which  the 
buffalo  kingdom  reigned  supreme  over  the  vast  western 
prairies  of  the  United  States,  yet  few  had  ever  been  wit- 
nessed by  man.  We  were  looking  upon  a  spectacle  rare  to 
human  eyes,  and  I  confess  that  I  was  never  more  excited 
than  when  this  last   trial    reached    its   climax.     It   was  a 


question  now  whether  the  champion  should  still  hold  his 
position.  It  stimulates  one  more  when  he  thinks  of  losing 
what  he  has  seized  than  when  he  thinks  of  failing  to 
grasp  that  which  he  has  never  possessed.  Undoubtedly 
both  of  these  animals  had  this  same  feeling,  for  as  we 
looked  at  this  latest  arrival,  we  about  concluded  that  he 
was  the  real  leader,  and  not  the  other  that  limped  away 

While  these  and  other  thoughts  were  passing  through 
our  minds,  the  two  mighty  contestants  squared  and  made 
a  tremendous  plunge  for  each  other.  What  a  shock  was 
that!  What  a  report  rolled  on  the  air!  The  earth 
fairly  shook  with  the  terrific  concussion  of  buffalo 
brains,  and  both  burly  fellows  went  down  on  their  knees. 
Both,  too,  were  on  their  feet  the  same  instant,  and 
locked  horns  with  the  same  swiftness  and  skill,  and  each 
bore  down  on  the  other  with  all  the  power  he  could  sum- 
mon. The  cords  stood  out  like  great  ropes  on  their  necks; 
the  muscles  on  thighs  and  hips  rose  like  huge  welts.  We 
were  quite  near  these  fellows  and  could  see  the  roll  of  their 
blood-red  fiery  eyes.  They  braced  and  shoved  with  per- 
fectly terrible  force.  The  froth  began  to  drip  in  long 
strings  from  their  mouths.  The  erstwhile  victor  slipped 
with  one  hind  foot  slightly.  His  antagonist  felt  it  and 
instantly  swung  a  couple  of  inches  forward,  which  raised  the 
unfortunate  buffalo's  back,  and  we  expected  every  instant 
that  he  would  go  down.  But  he  had  a  firm  hold  and  he 
swung  his  antagonist  back  to  his  former  position,  where 
they  were  both  held  panting,  their  tongues  lolling  out. 

There  was  a  slight  relaxation  for  breath,  then  the  con- 
test was  renewed.  Deep  into  the  new  sod  their  hoofs  sunk, 
neither  getting  the  advantage  of  the  other.  Like  a  crack  of 
a  tree  broken  asunder  came  a  report  on  the  air,  and  one  of 
the  legs  of  the  first   fighter   sank   into   the   earth.     The 


other  buffalo  thought  he  saw  his  chance,  and  made  a  furious 
lunge  toward  his  opponent.  The  earth  trembled  beneath 
us.  The  monsters  there  fighting  began  to  reel.  We  beheld 
an  awful  rent  in  the  sod.  For  an  instant  the  ground 
swayed,  then  nearly  an  acre  dropped  out  of  sight. 

We  started  back  with  horror,  then  becoming  reassured,  we 
slowly  approached  the  brink  of  the  new  precipice  and 
looked  over.  This  battle  of  the  buffaloes  had  been  fought 
near  the  edge  of  this  high  bluff.  Their  great  weight — each 
one  was  over  a  ton — and  their  tremendous  struggles  had 
loosened  the  fibers  which  kept  the  upper  part  of  the  bluff 
together,  and  the  foundations  having  been  undermined  by 
the  current,  all  were  precipitated  far  below. 

As  we  gazed  downward  we  detected  two  moving  masses 
quite  a  distance  apart,  and  soon  the  shaggy  fronts  of  these 
buffaloes  were  seen.  One  got  into  the  current  of  the  river 
and  was  swept  down  stream.  The  other  soon  was  caught 
by  the  tides  and  swept  onward  toward  his  foe.  Probably 
they  resumed  the  contest  when,  after  gaining  a  good  foot- 
ing farther  down  the  banks  of  the  Missouri,  they  were 
fully  rested. 

But  more  probably,  if  they  were  sensible  animals,  and  in 
some  respects  buffaloes  have  good  sense,  they  concluded 
after  such  a  providential  interference  in  their  terrific  fight 
that  they  should  live  together  in  fraternal  amity.  So,  no 
doubt,  on  the  lower  waters  of  the  Missouri  two  splendid 
buffaloes  have  been  seen  by  later  hunters  paying  each 
other  mutual  respect,  and  standing  on  a  perfect  equality  as 
chief  leaders  of  a  great  herd. 



My  father,  being  one  of  the  very  first  pioneers  of  Jack- 
son Count}%  Missouri,  abundant  opportunity  was  afforded 
me  to  become  acquainted  with  the  habits  of  wild  animals 
of  every  description  which  at  that  time  roamed  in  that 
unsettled  portion  of  the  country,  such  as  elk,  deer,  bear, 
and  panther. 

Among  these  animals  the  most  peculiar  was  the  black 
bear,  which  was  found  in  considerable  numbers.  Bears,  in 
many  respects,  differ  from  all  other  animals;  they  are  very 
small  when  born,  and  when  grown  the  females,  in  their 
best  state  of  fatness,  will  weigh  from  two  hundred  and  fifty 
to  three  hundred  and  fifty  pounds.  The  male  bears  weigh 
at  their  best  much  more;  from  four  hundred  to  five  hun- 
dred pounds.  They  are  remarkably  intelligent  animals, 
and  are  very  wild,  wanting  but  little  to  do  with  civilization, 
for  as  soon  as  white  people  made  their  appearance  in  the 
regions  of  country  inhabited  by  them,  it  was  not  long 
before  they  migrated  to  other  portions  of  the  country.  To 
the  early  settlers  of  the  new  country  bear  meat  proved  of 
great  value,  being  very  fat,  and  on  account  of  this  great 
fatness  particularly  useful  to  them  in  the  seasoning  of 
leaner  meats,  such  as  wild  turkey,  venison,  etc.,  which  con- 
stituted much  of  the  living  of  the  early  settlers  or  pioneers 
of  the  Mississippi  and  Missouri  valleys. 

The  bear's  life  each  year  is  divided  into  three  distinct 
periods.  From  the  first  of  April  to  the  middle  of  Septem- 
ber they  live  upon  vegetables,  such  as  they  can  find  in  the 

(201  i 


wild  woods,  fruits  of  every  description,  and  meats  of  every 
kind,  from  the  insect  to  the  largest  animal  that  lives;  peri- 
winkles, frogs,  and  fish  of  all  kinds;  all  living  things  in  the 
water  as  well  as  on  the  land.  From  the  middle  of  September 
they  cease  to  eat  of  the  various  things  they  have  lived  on 
during  the  summer,  and  take  entirely  to  eating  mast,  that 
is,  acorns,  beech-nuts,  pecans,  chestnuts,  and  chincapins. 
On  commencing  to  eat  mast,  they  begin  to  fatten  very 
rapidly.  I  should  have  remarked  that  during  the  summer 
months,  the  season  in  which  they  live  on  insects  and 
meats  of  every  variety,  they  lose  every  particle  of  the  fat 
they  had  accumulated  while  eating  mast.  On  account  of 
his  abstemious  habits  the  prohibitionists  should  value  the 
bear  as  emblematical  of  their  order.  Coming  out  of  their 
long  sleep  the  first  of  April,  or  when  the  vegetation  has 
grown  sufficient  for  them  to  feed  upon,  they  commence  to 
eat  herbs,  meats,  and  fruits  of  every  kind.  They  are 
remarkably  fond  of  swine  at  this  period,  and  unlike  the 
wolf,  who  seeks  to  catch  the  young  pigs,  the  bear  picks  up 
the  mother  and  walks  off  with  her.  She  affords  him  a 
splendid  opportunity  for  so  doing,  it  being  a  trait  of  the 
mother  hog,  as  it  is  of  the  mother  bear,  to  fight  ferociously 
for  her  young.  The  strength  of  the  bear  is  phenomenal. 
They  can  take  up  in  their  mouths  and  carry  off  with  per- 
fect ease  an  ordinary  sized  hog,  calf,  or  sheep.  During 
this  season  they  frequent  corn  fields,  devouring  the  corn 
when  it  comes  to  the  size  of  roasting  ears.  Indeed  there 
is  little  to  be  found  that  is  edible  by  man  or  beast  that  the 
bear  at  some  period  of  his  life  does  not  eat.  When  they 
commence  eating  mast,  which  is  about  the  middle  of  Sep- 
tember or  the  first  of  October,  as  stated,  they  eat  nothing 
else  until  about  the  15th  to  the  20th  of  December,  by 
which  time  most  of  them  become  exceedingly  fat;  so  much 
so,  indeed,  that  in  some  cases  it  is  difficult  for  them  to  run 

THE    BLACK    BEAR.  203 

very  fast,  not  half  as  fast  as  they  could  before  becoming  so 
fat.  All  of  the  very  fat  ones,  about  the  middle  of  Decem- 
ber, cease  to  eat  or  drink  anything,  make  themselves  beds 
and  lie  down  in  them,  preparatory  to  going  into  their  caves 
or  dens  for  their  long  sleep.  They  lie  in  these  beds,  which 
may  be  several  miles  from  the  caves  in  which  they  intend 
to  take  their  winter  sleep,  several  days,  or  sometimes  a 
week,  and  by  this  temporary  stay  in  the  open  air,  nature  is 
given  time  to  dispose  of  every  particle  of  water  and  food 
in  the  body.  After  this  time  has  elapsed,  they  leave  these 
temporary  beds  and  go  as  straight  as  the  crow  flies  to  their 
intended  quarters,  which  are  generally  caves  in  the  rocks, 
if  such  can  be  found  in  the  regions  they  inhabit.  This 
sleep  is  taken  when  the  animals  are  the  very  fattest. 
None  but  the  very  fat  ones  go  through  the  period  of  hi- 
bernating. They  do  not  lose  one  pound's  weight  during 
this  sleep,  unless  it  be  iri  respiration,  which  is  a  very  small 
quantity  compared  with  the  entire  mass,  for  no  excretions 
are  made  during  that  period.  Entering  the  caves  they 
remain  there  from  three  to  four  months,  this  being  their 
dormant  or  hibernating  period,  and  for  this  reason  they 
are  known  among  hunters  as  one  of  the  family  of  seven 
sleepers.  Each  makes  his  bed  in  the  bottom  of  the  cave 
by  scratching  out  a  large,  round,  basin-shaped  place  in  the 
dirt;  these  beds  after  being  once  made  remain  intact,  as 
the  caves  are  invariably  dry,  and  are  used  by  the  same  bear 
year  after  year  if  he  is  not  disturbed;  and  after  his  demise 
will  be  adopted  by  another  of  his  kind.  Some  of  these 
caves  have  been  perhaps  for  ages  during  the  winter  time 
the  abode  of  a  number  of  these  "  seven  sleepers." 

In  my  opinion  there  is  no  animal  in  the  world  that  is  so 
healthy,  and  the  meat  of  which  is  more  beneficial  to  man- 
kind, than  is   the  meat  of  the  black  bear.     The   doctors 
invariably  recommend  it  for  patients  who  are  troubled  with 


indigestion  or  chest  diseases.  Bear's  oil  (for  that  is  what 
it  really  is)  is  considered  a  better  curative  and  much  pref- 
erable on  account  of  its  pleasant  taste,  to  cod-liver  oil, 
which  is  very  disagreeable. 

In  settling  the  Mississippi  Valley,  when  bear's  meat  was 
such  a  factor  in  the  way  of  food,  each  of  the  frontiersmen 
kept  a  pack  of  dogs — all  the  way  from  three  to  half-a- 
dozen — partly  for  bear  hunting,  which  was  a  very  exciting 
sport,  in  fact  the  most  of  any  other  game  hunting.  I  have 
been  long  and  well  acquainted  with  the  courage  shown  by 
dogs  in  hunting  and  fighting  game,  and  there  is  nothing  I 
ever  saw  a  dog  undertake  that  arouses  his  courage  so  much 
as  a  contest  with  a  bear.  The  dog  seems  to  think  a  fight 
with  a  bear  the  climax  of  his  existence.  One  familiar  with, 
and  accustomed  to,  bear  hunting  can  tell  at  long  distances 
whether  the  dogs  are  having  a.  combat  with  a  bear  or  some 
other  animal,  by  the  energy  they  put  into  their  yelping. 
When  fighting  a  bear  the  dogs  continually  snap  and  bite  at 
his  hind  legs,  as  this  is  the  only  way  they  have  of  exasper- 
ating and  irritating  him,  as  they  dare  not  approach  him  in 

The  full-grown  bear  is  able  to  stand  off  any  number  of 
dogs  that  can  get  around  him.  So  strong  are  they  that  if 
they  can  get  hold  of  a  dog  in  their  fore  arms  or  mouth,  he 
is  very  likely  to  be  killed.  The  large  she-bear  can  take  an 
ordinary  sized  dog  in  her  fore  paws  and  crush  him  to  death, 
and  they  can  strike  with  such  force  as  to  send  the  sharp 
nails  of  their  paws  fairly  through  the  dog.  On  account  of 
the  adeptness  with  which  bears  use  their  fore  paws,  the  dogs 
try  constantly  to  be  in  their  rear,  and  the  bears  are  always 
trying  to  confront  them.  The  bear  in  moving  his  paws  to 
strike  never  draws  them  back,  but  invariably  makes  a  for- 
ward movement,  which  is  a  surprise  to  the  dogs,  as  it  gives 

THE    BLACK    BEAR.  205 

them  no  warning,  hence  the  aim  of  the  former  to  confront 
the  enemy,  and  of  the  latter  not  to  be  confronted. 

I  have  stood  several  times,  when  a  boy,  upon  the  door- 
step of  my  father's  log-cabin  and  watched  the  men  and 
dogs  in  their  chase  after  a  bear,  only  a  few  hundred  yards 
away.  This  was,  of  course,  only  a  few  months  after  the 
first  settlers  came  into  the  country,  for  it  was  the  habit  of 
these  bears  to  leave  as  soon  as  they  knew  the  white  people 
had  come  to  stay. 

Bears  roam  in  the  very  thickest  woods  and  roughest  por- 
tions of  the  country,  and  it  is  difficult  to  find  one  so  far 
away  from  the  rough  woods  that  he  can  not  reach  such 
locality  in  a  very  few  moments  after  he  is  attacked;  and 
unlike  other  game  that  was  found  on  the  frontier,  instead 
of  trying  to  get  into  the  open  prairie,  where  they  can  run, 
they  make  at  once  after  being  disturbed  for  the  cliffs  of 
the  rivers  and  creeks  and  the  canebrakes;  in  fact  into  the 
very  roughest  places  they  can  find,  and  take  the  shortest 
cut  to  get  to  them. 

Bears  do  not  depend  on  the  senses  of  sight  and  hearing 
for  their  protection  as  much  as  upon  the  sense  of  smell,  by 
which  they  can  distinguish  perfectly  their  friends  or 
enemies.  The  scent  of  man  would  strike  terror  to  their 
hearts  as  much  as  the  sight  of  him,  and  they  scent  him 
much  farther  than  they  can  see  him,  especially  when  they 
are  in  the  thick  woods  or  canebrakes,  where  they  often 

Frequently  instead  of  fighting  dogs  on  the  ground,  when 
tired,  the  bear  climbs  a  tree,  sometimes  going  up  fifty  feet, 
and  there  rests,  lodged  in  a  fork  or  upon  a  limb,  surveying 
with  complacency  the  howling  pack  of  dogs,  and  they  in 
turn,  becoming  more  bold  as  the  distance  between  their 
victim  and  themselves  increases,  defiantly  extend  their 
necks  toward  their  black  antagonist  in  the  tree.     Notwith- 


standing  the  bear's  dread  of  the  howling  pack  of  dogs  in 
waiting  for  their  prey,  if  he  sees  a  man  he  loses  his  hold 
and  drops,  falling  among  the  dogs,  sometimes  falling  on 
one  or  more  and  killing  them. 

I  have  known  the  hunter  to  be  so  cautious  in  showing 
himself  that  before  he  came  near  enough  to  shoot  he 
would  select  the  trunks  of  large  trees,  hiding  behind  them 
as  he  approached,  until  being  near  enough,  and  con- 
cealed from  the  bear  by  one  of  these  trunks,  he  moved  his 
head  a  little  to  one  side  to  take  aim;  the  moment  he  moved 
his  head  sufficient  to  do  so,  if  the  bear  chanced  to  be  look- 
ing that  way,  he  would  let  go  his  hold  and  drop,  showing 
that,  after  all,  he  knew  where  the  real  danger  was. 

It  is  very  desirable  in  bear  hunting  that  the  bear  should 
climb  a  tree  and  give  his  pursuer  an  opportunity  to  fire  at 
him  there,  for  while  he  is  in  the  fight  with  the  dogs  it 
would  be  almost  impossible  for  the  hunter  to  shoot  the  bear 
without  taking  the  chance  of  injuring  or  killing  one  or 
more  of  the  dogs.  The  dogs  are  also  in  great  danger  when 
a  bear  weighing  from  three  to  five  hundred  pounds  falls  a 
distance  of  forty  or  fifty  feet,  be  the  bear  dead  or  alive. 
No  other  animal  that  I  know  of  could  fall  such  a  distance 
and  not  be  more  or  less  hurt,  but  bears  are  not  injured  in 
the  least,  being  protected  by  their  immense  covering  of  fat, 
which  forms  a  complete  shield,  or  cushion,  around  the 

The  bear  can  stand  on  his  hind  legs  just  as  easily  as  a 
man  can  stand  on  his  feet,  and  in  their  fights  with  dogs 
they  shield  themselves  by  standing  up  against  large  trees, 
cliffs,  or  rocks,  so  that  the  dogs  have  no  chance  at  them 
except  in  front.  In  this  position  they  can  stand  off  any 
number  of  dogs,  and  the  dogs  well  know  the  danger  of 
approaching  from  the  front.  No  body  of  drilled  men 
could  act  their  part  better  than  the  dogs  do,  without  any 

THE    BLACK    BEAR.  20? 

training  whatever,  which  is  a  great  proof  of  their  intel- 

The  moment  a  bear  shows  that  he  is  about  to  climb  a 
tree  in  order  to  get  out  of  the  ground  scuffle  with  his 
opponents,  the  dogs,  and  attempts  to  do  so,  the  dogs  with 
one  accord  pitch  at  him,  until  there  are  so  many  hanging 
to  his  hind  legs  that  often  he  can  not  climb,  and  falls  on  his 
back  to  rid  himself  of  and  to  fight  them.  He  can  fight 
when  on  his  back  as  well  as  in  any  other  position,  for  he 
embraces  them  in  his  arms,  by  no  means  gently. 

He  may  try  climbing  a  tree  three  or  four  times  before  he 
can  sufficiently  rid  himself  of  the  dogs;  even  then,  perhaps, 
he  may  have  one  or  two  hanging  to  his  legs,  which  he 
carries  with  him  maybe  ten  or  twelve  feet  up  the  tree,  and 
the  dogs,  under  the  greatest  excitement,  keep  perfect 
consciousness  of  the  distance,  and  they  are  able  to  fall 
without  being  injured. 

Let  us  now  turn  our  attention  to  the  mothers,  or  she- 
bears.  They  become  mothers  during  the  period  of  their 
hibernation,  going  into  the  caves  at  the  time  already 
mentioned  when  the  other  fat  bears  hibernate,  and  lie 
dormant  until  the  time  their  cubs  are  born,  which  is  about 
the  middle  of  February.  These  require  a  great  deal  of  the 
mother's  attention,  and  she  is  faithful  and  follows  her 
motherly  instincts  to  her  own  death,  if  need  be.  After  the 
cubs  are  born  she  goes  once  every  day  for  water,  which, 
with  her  accumulated  fat,  produces  milk  for  the  sustenance 
of  her  young,  she  having  selected  her  cave  near  a  stream 
of  running  or  living  water. 

She  does  not  eat  a  particle  of  any  food  from  the  first  of 
December  to  the  middle  of  April.  By  the  time  she  leaves 
her  bed,  where  she  has  been  for  four  months  in  solitude, 
the  cubs  are  sufficiently  large  to  follow  the  mother,  and 
should  any  danger  threaten  them,  to  climb  a  tree,  which 


they  arc  very  quick  to  do,  and  if  they  do  not  do  so  at  the 
bidding  of  the  mother  at  once,  she  catches  them  up  in  her 
fore  paws  and  throws  them  up  against  the  tree,  giving 
them  to  understand  they  must  climb  for  their  protection. 
The  male  bear  is  the  greatest  enemy  the  mother  and  the 
cubs  have  to  look  out  for;  for  unless  protected  by  the 
mother,  he  will  seize  and  eat  the  cubs,  during  the  season  of 
the  year  when  bears  eat  meat,  but  he  is  not  disposed  to 
hurt  the  mother  bear,  unless  in  a  scuffle  in  trying  to  get 
hold  of  the  young;  therefore  it  is  necessary  for  her  to  have 
her  little  ones  with  her  every  moment  after  they  come  out 
of  the  cave  where  they  are  born,  and  where  they  stay  for 
more  than  two  months  before  they  are  brought  out  into  the 

Should  danger  threaten,  and  there  is  a  small  tree  near, 
she  will  invariably  make  her  cubs  climb  it,  where  they  are 
safe,  because  the  large  male  bear  can  not  climb  very  small 
trees.  If  she  is  compelled  to  send  her  cubs  up  a  large 
tree,  she  stands  ready  and  willing  to  sacrifice  her  life  for 
the  protection  of  her  young,  and  not  in  the  annals  of 
natural  history  can  there  be  found  a  mother  which  shows 
such  desperation  in  the  protection  of  her  young  as  does 
the  mother  bear. 

Nothing  daunts  her  when  her  cubs  are  imperiled,  and 
neither  man  nor  dogs  in  any  number  will  avail  in  driving 
her  from  them.  I  have  seen  mother  bears  stand  at  the 
roots  of  trees  up  which  their  cubs  had  climbed,  cracking 
their  teeth  and  striking  their  paws,  which  sounded  like  the 
knocking  of  two  hammers  together,  as  warning  to  their 
enemies  they  would  fight  till  they  dropped  dead,  or  killed 
their  antagonist. 

They  all  fast  during  the  entire  period  of  hibernation. 
Bears  bring  forth  their  young  but  once  in  two  years, 
and  nature  has  wisely  designed  it  so.    In  order  to  protect 

THE    BLACK    BEAR.  209 

the  cubs  from  the  male  bear,  and  other  enemies,  the 
mother's  constant  presence  and  care  are  necessary  until 
they  are  old  and  large  enough  to  protect  themselves.  On 
this  account  she  keeps  them  with  her  until  they  are  over 
a  year  old,  and  they  generally  hibernate  the  first  year  with 
her,  after  which  they  leave  her,  to  roam  where  they  will. 

As  my  knowledge  of  the  bear  was  obtained  by  being 
brought  up  and  living  in  the  portion  of  the  State  of  Mis- 
souri they  inhabited,  it  was  natural  when  I  grew  up  that  I 
became  a  bear-hunter.  I  have  killed  them  at  all  times  of 
the  year;  when  in  their  caves,  shortly  after  they  have  come 
out  in  the  spring,  and  while  in  their  beds,  before  going  to 
their  caves.  I  have  traced  them  by  their  tracks  in  the 
snow  from  their  temporary  beds  to  their  winter  caves. 
On  account  of  my  own  experience,  and  my  association 
with  the  best  and  oldest  bear-hunters,  I  have  had  good  op- 
portunities to  learn  the  nature  and  habits  of  black  bear. 
Although  I  have  seen  a  great  many  bears  of  the  Rocky 
Mountains,  and  have  had  some  little  experience  with  the 
cinnamon,  the  brown,  and  the  silver-gray  bear,  I  am  not  as 
familiar  with  their  modes  of  life  as  I  am  with  those  of 
the  black  bear  that  were  found  in  such  numbers  in  the 
Mississippi  Valley  when  the  white  people  first  emigrated  to 
that  country.  Bears  of  the  Rocky  Mountains,  and  espe- 
cially grizzly  bears,  are  very  much  larger  than  black  bears, 
and,  as  far  as  I  have  been  able  to  learn  from  those  who 
have  hunted  them,  their  meat,  as  food,  does  not  compare 
with  that  of  the  black  bear. 

One  of  my  personal  experiences  in  bear  hunting  oc- 
curred about  the  15th  of  December,  1839, in  Taney  County, 
Missouri,  where  I  then  lived.  After  a  deep  snow  had  fallen, 
I  had  provided  myself  with  some  bread,  a  piece  of  fat  bear 
meat,  and  a  little  salt,  and  some  corn  for  my  horse,  and 
unaccompanied,  except  by  my  horse  and  four  dogs,  I 


started  out  to  try  and  kill  a  bear.  On  reaching  that  part 
of  the  mountains  where  I  expected  to  find  them,  I  came 
across  a  number  of  trails,  and  soon  found  one  which  I 
knew  must  have  been  by  a  very  fat  bear.  Hunters  know 
by  the  trail  whether  the  bear  is  fat,  for  if  fat  he  makes  two 
rows  of  tracks  about  a  foot  apart,  while  a  lean  bear  makes 
only  one  row  of  tracks,  similar  to  that  of  a  dog.  I 
spent  part  of  one  day  in  tracking  this  animal,  which  I  was 
sure  would  be  well  worth  my  pains.  While  on  this  trail  I 
was  led  to  the  deserted  bed  of  one  of  the  largest  bears  I 
ever  saw,  for  I  afterward  had  ample,  opportunity  of  judg- 
ing of  its  size  and  weight.  He  had  lain  in  his  temporary 
bed  during  the  falling  of  the  snow,  after  which  he  had 
gone  in  a  bee-line  to  the  cave  for  his  intended  hibernation. 
Feeling  sure  he  was  such  a  large  animal,  I  followed  the 
trail  four  or  five  miles,  going  as  straight  as  if  I  had  fol- 
lowed the  bearings  of  a  compass.  On  a  very  high  peak 
at  the  mouth  of  one  of  those  caves,  of  which  there  are  so 
many  in  that  country,  his  trail  disappeared.  The  openings 
of  many  of  these  caves  are  so  small  that  it  is  often  with 
great  difficulty  a  large  bear  effects  an  entrance.  However, 
though  the  openings  are  so  small,  the  caves  are  broad  and 
spacious.  In  these  caves  bears  hibernate.  This  particu- 
lar cave  had  a  very  small  and  irregular  opening,  so  that  I 
could  not  enter  it  with  my  gun;  but,  as  is  the  custom  with 
bear-hunters,  I  cut  a  pole  ten  or  twelve  feet  long,  sharpened 
one  end.  and  to  this  tied  a  piece  of  fat  bear  meat,  set  fire 
to  it,  and  made  another  attempt  to  enter  the  cave.  Find- 
ing I  could  not  do  this,  on  account  of  the  opening  being 
so  irregular,  I  abandoned  the  idea  of  shooting  him  in  his 
cave,  and  proceeded  to  kindle  a  fire  at  the  mouth,  and  put- 
ting a  pole  across  the  opening,  hung  my  saddle-blanket 
and  a  green  buckskin  that  I  procured  the  day  before,  when 
getting  meat  for  my  dogs,  upon  it.     This  covering  drove 

THE    BLACK    BEAR.  211 

the  smoke  from  the  fire  into  the  cave,  which  soon  dis- 
turbed the  animal,  so  that  he  came  and  put  the  fire  out  by 
striking  it  with  his  paws.  Instead  of  coming  out  of  the 
cave  as  I  supposed  he  would,  after  putting  out  the  fire,  he 
went  back  to  his  bed.  He  had  gotten  such  draughts  of 
the  suffocating  smoke  that  he  made  no  other  attempts  to 
get  to  the  mouth  of  the  cave,  where  my  four  dogs  were  stand- 
ing, ready,  nervous,  and  trembling,  watching  for  him,  and 
I  was  standing  on  one  side  of  the  mouth  of  the  cave, 
prepared  to  put  a  whole  charge  into  him  if  he  made  his 
appearance.  I  waited  a  few  moments  after  I  heard  him 
box  the  fire  for  him  to  return,  but  as  he  did  not,  I  took 
the  covering  from  the  mouth  of  the  cave  and  found  the 
fire  was  entirely  out.  I  then  rekindled  it  and  replaced  the 
coverings,  and  it  was  not  long  after  until  I  heard  him 
groaning,  like  some  strong-chested  old  man  in  pain.  I 
listened  eagerly  for  his  moanings  to  cease,  knowing  that 
he  must  die  of  suffocation.  It  was  not,  however,  very  long 
until  all  was  still.  I  then  uncovered  the  mouth  of  the 
cave  to  let  the  smoke  out.  It  was  some  time  before  I  could 
venture  in;  before  I  did  so  I  relit  my  light,  and  going  in  I 
found  my  victim  not  twenty  feet  from  the  mouth  of 
the  cave,  lying  on  his  back,  dead;  and,  as  before  stated,  he 
was  the  largest  animal  of  the  kind  I  ever  saw  or  killed. 
It  took  me  seven  or  eight  hours  to  slaughter  him  and 
carry  the  meat  out  of  the  cave,  as  I  could  not  carry  more 
than  fifty  pounds  at  a  time  and  crawl  out  and  in. 

When  I  opened  the  chest  of  this  big  bear,  I  found  two 
bullets.  These  were  entirely  disconnected  with  any  solid 
matter.  They  had  been  shot  into  him  by  some  hunter  who 
knew  precisely  the  location  of  a  bear's  heart,  which  is 
different  from  what  it  is  in  other  animals.  His  heart  lies 
much  farther  back  in  his  body,  being  precisely  in  the  center 
of  the  same,  while  the  heart  of  all  other  quadrupeds,  and 


I  think  I  have  known  all  those  of  North  America,  lies  just 
back  of  their  shoulders;  in  other  words,  in  the  front  part 
of  the  chest. 

These  bullets,  from  the  necessity  of  the  case,  must  have 
been  shot  into  the  animal  when  he  was  the  very  fattest,  and 
when  he  was  ready  for  hibernation,  because  they  were  not 
lodged  in  the  flesh,  but  entirely  loose  in  the  chest,  each  one 
covered  with  a  white  film,  and  tied  with  a  little  ligament, 
about  the  size  of  a  rye  straw,  to  the  sack  that  contained 
the  heart.  When  the  bear  lay  down,  these  bullets  could 
not  have  been  more  than  half  or  three-quarters  of  an  inch 
from  each  other,  for  each  one  was  covered  separately,  and 
had  a  separate  ligament  attaching  it  to  the  sack  above 
alluded  to;  and  the  two  ligaments,  where  they  had  grown 
to  the  sack,  were  not  more  than  a  quarter  of  an  inch  apart. 
I  cut  out  the  piece  containing  both  the  bullets,  and  taking 
it  in  my  fingers  reminded  me  of  two  large  cherries  with  the 
stems  almost  touching  at  the  point  where  they  were  broken 
from  the  limb.  What  I  have  just  described  would  indeed 
have  been  an  interesting  study  to  the  medical  fraternity,  as 
perhaps  there  has  never  been  anything  like  it.  It  could 
not  have  occurred  in  this  particular  way,  except  where  the 
bear  had  gone  through  the  preparation  peculiar  to  him 
before  hibernating,  and  after  leaving  his  temporary  bed  he 
could  lie  dormant  and  give  nature  ample  opportunity  to 
restore  the  injury  to  the  system  which  the  bullet  had 
caused.  The  above  facts  proved  that  it  was  just  at  the 
season  of  the  year  when  the  bear  was  ready  to  hibernate. 

In  this  article  at  the  outset,  I  mentioned  the  fact  that 
the  bear  is  a  peculiar  animal.  Indeed  he  is  the  most  pecul- 
iar of  any  quadruped  with  which  I  am  familiar.  He  has 
many  marked  characteristics.  He  assumes  in  twelve 
months  three  different  modes  of  life,  each  one  thoroughly 
distinct  from  the  other.     He  hibernates,  during  which  time 

THE    BLACK    REAR.  213 

he  abstains  entirely  from  food  and  water.  On  coming  out 
of  this  dormant  condition  he  commences  to  eat  food  of 
every  kind,  peculiar  to  that  season  of  the  year.  After 
living  for  months  on  anything  and  everything  he  can  get, 
he  ceases  to  eat  any  of  these  various  things,  and  begins  a 
totally  different  kind  of  diet,  eating  only  mast — acorns  and 
nuts  of  every  kind.  Another  of  their  peculiarities  is  the 
cubs  are  not  permitted  to  see  the  light  for  sixty  days  after 
being  born,  as  they  are  in  the  dark  solitude  of  a  cave  in 
the  ground.  Still  another  characteristic  is  the  mother  bear 
takes  care  of  her  young  until  they  are  fourteen  months 
old,  they  hibernating  with  her  the  second  winter  of  their 

The  bear  differs  from  other  quadrupeds  in  being  able  to 
stand  or  walk  on  his  two  hind  feet  as  well  as  on  all-fours, 
and  in  this  position  he  can  make  telling  efforts  at  protect- 
ing himself.  He  climbs  trees,  and  thus  gets  the  mast  by 
breaking  the  branches  and  picking  off  the  acorns.  He  is 
also  so  constituted  that  he  can  fall  great  distances,  even 
from  the  top  of  a  tree,  without  injuring  himself  in  the  least. 
The  mother  bear  has,  as  far  as  I  know,  generally  two,  never 
more  than  three,  cubs  at  a  time;  when  young  these  cubs 
can  be  easily  tamed,  and  become  in  time  very  devoted  to 
their  owner.  They  are  very  intelligent,  so  that  with  proper 
training  they  will  learn  the  tricks  any  animal  has  been 
known  to  learn.  When  small  they  are  great  playmates  for 
boys,  and  will  wrestle  with  them  and  enter  into  sports  with 
great  intelligence.  They  are  never  dangerous  until  grown, 
and  not  then  unless  crossed  or  abused.  Wild  bears  are  not 
considered  dangerous  unless  they  are  attacked  and  are 
unable  to  make  their  escape.  Under  no  circumstances,  as 
already  stated,  does  the  mother  bear  forsake  her  young 
when  they  are  in  danger.  In  teaching  bears  tricks,  one 
lesson  is  sufficient,  as  they  seem  never  to  forget.     A  friend 


of  mine  owned  a  pet  bear  which  became  so  familiar  about 
the  place  and  so  attached  to  all,  that  he  could  be  turned 
loose  with  a  chain  several  feet  long  dragging  after  him. 
He  conceived  the  idea  of  scratching  a  hole  beside  the  wall, 
where  he  could  go  and  hide  himself  to  take  his  naps.  One 
day  his  owner  wanted  to  show  him  to  some  one  while  he 
was  asleep  in  his  hole,  and  took  hold  of  the  chain,  which 
was  lying  extended  for  some  distance,  and  pulled  the  little 
bear  out.  This  gentleman  stated  to  me  that  this  never 
occurred  but  once.  After  this,  whenever  the  bear  went  to 
take  his  nap,  the  first  thing  he  did  after  getting  into  the 
hole  was  to  pull  the  chain  in  after  him.  His  owner  had  a 
post  set  in  the  yard  fifteen  or  twenty  feet  high,  with  a 
broad  board  nailed  on  the  top.  The  bear  would  climb  this 
post  and  lie  down  on  the  board.  The  first  thing  he  did 
after  lying  down  was  to  pull  that  chain  up  and  put  it  in  a 
coil  at  his  side.  His  owner  told  me  that  one  lesson  sufficed 
to  teach  him  anything.  I  have  repeated  many  of  these 
facts  in  order  to  bring  them  more  clearly  and  forcibly  to 
the  mind  of  the  reader. 



In  the  settlement  of  the  Western  States  and  Territories 
one  of  the  sources  of  income,  and  the  only  industry  which 
commanded  cash  for  the  efforts  involved,  was  that  of 
beaver  trapping,  the  skin  of  the  beaver  selling  as  high  as 
fifteen  or  twenty  dollars.  The  weight  of  the  beaver  is 
from  thirty  to  sixty  pounds,  and  it  is  an  animal  possessed 
of  great  intelligence,  as  the  amount  and  kind  of  work 
accomplished  by  it  shows.  It  is  a  natural-born  engineer,  as 
connected  with  water;  it  can  build  dams  across  small 
streams  that  defy  the  freshets,  and  that  hold  the  water 
equal,  if  not  superior,  to  the  very  best  dams  that  can  be 
constructed  by  skilled  engineers. 

In  making  their  dams  the  sticks  and  poles  which  they 
use  in  the  construction  of  the  same  are  cut  with  their 
teeth,  of  which  they  have  four,  two  in  the  upper  part  of 
the  mouth  and  two  in  the  lower. 

These  poles  they  place  across  each  other  in  all  directions. 
They  build  their  dams  during  the  fall  usually,  and  should 
they  need  repair,  the  work  is  done  before  the  very  cold 
weather  commences,  working  only  at  night  if  danger  is 

In  the  month  of  October  they  generally  collect  their 
food,  which  consists  largely  of  the  cottonwood;  this  is  cut  in 
lengths  of  from  two  to  six  feet,  the  diameter  being  some- 
times six  inches,  and  carry  it  into  their  ponds  made  by  the 
dams,  and  sunk  in  the  deepest  portion  of  the  same.  I  should 
have  stated  that  the  higher  up  the  stream  they  go,   their 



dams  are  built  correspondingly  higher;  hence  a  dam  built 
at  an  altitude  of  1,000  feet  would  not  be  built  as  high 
as  one  built  at  an  altitude  of  3,000  feet,  in  order  to 
overcome  the  deeper  freezing  at  that  point,  for  in  con- 
structing these  dams  they  must  be  of  sufficient  height  to 
give  plenty  of  room  to  get  at  their  food  in  the  water  under 
the  ice.  The  beaver  does  not  eat  a  particle  of  meat  of  any 
kind.  The  popular  idea  is  that  as  they  are  animals  that 
live  in  and  about  the  water,  that  they  live  upon  fish,  but 
this  is  not  so;  for,  as  above  stated,  their  principal  food  is 
the  bark  and  the  tender  wood  of  the  cottonwood,  and  they 
also  eat  of  other  barks. 

They  are  one  of  the  most  cleanly  animals  that  lives. 
They  live  in  the  purest  water  that  can  be  found,  generally 
selecting  streams  that  take  their  rise  in  the  mountains,  and 
where  they  can  have  an  abundance  of  water  the  year  round 
to  live  in.  They  dam  up  the  streams  in  order  to  make 
ponds  of  sufficient  depth  to  swim  in  under  the  ice  to  obtain 
their  food,  for  the  bottom  of  this  pond  is  their  store-room 
during  the  winter  months. 

Beavers  are  exceedingly  wild,  seldom  showing  them- 
selves, and  from  the  bottom  of  their  pond  they  make  a  tun- 
nel leading  to  the  house  where  they  sleep,  so  that  they  can 
pass  to  the  same  unobserved  by  man  or  beast.  When  they 
make  their  ponds  where  the  banks  are  low,  they  make 
their  house  upon  the  top  of  the  ground,  sometimes  a  rod 
or  more  from  the  edge  of  the  pond,  cutting  timber  of  the 
size  of  a  finger  to  two  or  three  inches  in  diameter,  placing 
the  sticks  in  very  much  the  same  way  as  they  do  in  build- 
ing their  dams,  crossing  and  recrossing  them  so  that  it  is 
quite  a  job  to  tear  one  of  their  houses  to  pieces;  in  fact  no 
one  but  a  man  would  undertake  the  task,  and  one  that  has 
never  had  any  experience  would  find  it  very  difficult  to 
accomplish,     If  one  does  it  in  the  hope  of  catching  the 

THE    BEAVER.  217 

animal,  he  toils  in  vain,  for  he  is  soon  scented,  and  the 
beaver  takes  refuge  in  the  pond,  passing  through  the 
underground  tunnel.  Where  they  find  high  banks,  they 
start  a  tunnel  several  feet  below  the  surface  of  the  water 
and  run  it  ascending,  so  as  to  reach  a  point  in  the  bank  six 
or  eight  or  may  be  ten  feet  above  the  surface  of  the  water 
underground,  stopping  before  reaching  the  top  of  the 
ground,  and  at  which  point  they  take  out  dirt  until  they 
have  a  place  sufficiently  large  for  their  bed.  This  kind  of 
a  house  they  much  prefer  to  one  made  with  sticks  on  the 
surface  of  the  ground,  as  they  are  completely  hidden  from 
observation  or  the  possibility  of  interruption  from  any  one. 

The  beaver's  feet  are  webbed  for  the  purpose  of  swim- 
ming, and  there  are  nails  on  his  feet,  so  that  he  can  scratch 
the  earth  almost  equal  to  a  badger.  He  has  a  paddle- 
formed  tail,  which  on  a  large  full-grown  beaver  is  from 
ten  to  twelve  inches  long  and  from  six  to  seven  inches 
broad,  and  without  any  hair  on  it.  These  are  tough  and 
sinewy,  and  when  cooked  they  make  a  very  fine  food,  the 
flavor  reminding  one  of  pig's  feet  or  calf's  head.  They 
make  considerable  use  of  their  tail  in  performing  their 
work  as  well  as  in  swimming. 

The  beaver  reproduces  itself  each  year.  The  offspring 
are  generally  two  in  number,  and  these  can  be  easily 

The  trappers  in  trapping  for  the  beaver  have  to  use 
great  precaution  in  approaching  the  place  where  they  intend 
to  set  the  traps,  often  getting  into  the  stream  above  or 
below  and  wading  for  some  distance.  If  they  walked  upon 
the  bank  the  beaver  would  scent  them  from  the  footprints. 
Beavers,  like  all  other  wild  animals,  dread  the  sight  or  scent 
of  man  more  than  anything  else.  In  setting  the  traps  the 
trappers  invariably  choose  as  deep  water  as  they  can  find, 
so  that  when  a  beaver  is  caught  he  will  drown  himself  in 


his  struggles  to  get  free  from  the  trap;  for  if  this  does  not 
occur,  he  has  often  been  known  to  cut  off,  with  the  sharp 
chisel  used  in  cutting  timber,  the  foot  that  is  caught  in  the 
trap,  so  that  it  is  not  infrequent  when  the  trapper 
comes  in  the  morning  to  find  a  foot  of  the  beaver  instead 
of  the  beaver  himself,  and  often  he  catches  a  beaver  with 
only  three  feet. 

The  beaver,  considered  as  an  engineer,  is  a  remarkable 
animal.  He  can  run  a  tunnel  as  direct  as  the  best  engineer 
could  do  with  his  instruments  to  guide  him.  I  have  seen 
where  they  have  built  a  dam  across  a  stream,  and  not  hav- 
ing a  sufficient  head  of  water  to  keep  their  pond  full,  they 
would  cross  to  a  stream  higher  up  the  side  of  the  mountain, 
and  cut  a  ditch  from  the  upper  stream  and  connect  it  with 
the  pond  of  the  lower,  and  do  it  as  neatly  as  an  engineer 
with  his  tools  could  possibly  do  it.  I  have  often  said  that 
the  buck  beaver  in  the  Rocky  Mountains  had  more  engi- 
neering skill  than  the  entire  corps  of  engineers  who  were 
connected  with  General  Grant's  army  when  he  besieged 
Vicksburg  on  the  banks  of  the  Mississippi.  The  beaver 
would  never  have  attempted  to  turn  the  Mississippi  into  a 
canal  to  change  its  channel  without  first  making  a  dam 
across  the  channel  below  the  point  of  starting  the  canal. 
The  beaver,  as  I  have  said,  rivals  and  sometimes  even 
excels  the  ingenuity  of  man. 

Another  of  the  peculiarities  of  the  beaver  is  the  great 
sharpness  of  its  teeth,  remaining  for  many  years  as  sharp 
as  the  best  edged  tool.  The  mechanic  with  the  finest  steel 
can  not  make  a  tool  that  will  not  in  a  short  time  become  so 
blunt  and  so  dulled  as  to  require  renewed  sharpening,  and 
this,  with  the  beaver,  would  have  to  be  repeated  hundreds 
of  times  in  order  to  do  service  with  it  during  the  whole  of 
its  lifetime,  which  is  from  ten  to  fifteen  years  if  it  is  per- 
mitted to  live  the  allotted  years  of  a  beaver. 

THE   BEAVER.  219 

In  one  of  my  trips  on  a  steamer  of  the  Upper  Missouri,  one 
day  while  the  boat's  crew  were  getting  their  supply  of  wood,  I 
took  my  gun  and  started  along  the  river-bank  in  the  hope  of 
seeing  an  elk  or  deer  that  I  might  shoot.  I  came  to  a  place 
on  the  river  where  the  banks  were  very  high,  and  I  observed 
that  a  lot  of  cottonwood  saplings  from  six  to  eight  inches  in 
diameter  had  been  felled  and  cut  into  sections.  I  saw  that 
it  had  been  recently  done,  and  I  at  first  supposed  that  it 
had  been  done  by  some  one  with  an  ax,  but  when  I 
reached  the  spot,  I  saw  that  it  was  the  work  of  the  beavers 
and  that  some  of  the  wood  had  been  dragged  away.  I  fol- 
lowed the  trail  for  a  few  steps,  when  I  came  to  the  mouth 
of  a  tunnel,  and  discovered  that  the  timber  had  been 
dragged  through  it.  The  tunnel  had  an  incline  of  about 
thirty-five  degrees,  and  was  as  straight  as  if  it  had  been 
made  with  an  auger.  This  was  in  the  month  of  October,  at 
the  time  when  it  was  their  custom  to  stow  away  their  food 
for  the  winter.  They  had  no  dam  at  this  point,  as  the 
water  was  deep,  and  they  were  drawing  the  timbers  down 
through  the  tunnel  and  sinking  them  in  the  deep  water,  so  that 
they  could  have  access  to  it  during  the  period  when  the  river 
would  be  frozen  over.  The  reason  for  the  tunnel,  of  which 
I  have  spoken,  was  that  the  river-bank  for  some  distance 
was  high  and  almost  perpendicular,  and  the  beaver,  being  a 
very  clumsy  animal  with  short  legs,  his  only  alternative 
was  to  make  a  tunnel  in  order  to  get  his  winter  food.  They 
have  a  way  of  sinking  the  cottonwood  and  keeping  it  down 
in  their  pond  or  simply  in  the  deep  water  when  they  do  not 
make  dams.  This  family  of  beavers  evidently  had  their 
house  far  under  the  surface  of  the  ground,  for  the  place 
was  admirably  adapted  for  them  to  make  such  a  home,  the 
banks  being  so  high  above  the  water.  One  could  see  no 
trace  whatever  of  the  beaver,  or  have  a  knowledge  of  where 
he  was,  more  than  the  opening  of  the  tunnel  and  where  the 


timber  had  been  cut;  indeed,  one  might  pass  hundreds  of 
times  and  not  be  conscious  that  beavers  were  living  right 
under  one's  feet.  I  picked  up  one  of  the  chips  which  the 
beaver  had  cut,  measuring  about  seven  inches  in  length, 
and  carried  it  home  with  me  as  a  curiosity. 


a  boy's  trip   overland. 

Remembering  my  own  love  of  adventure  as  a  boy,  I  can 
not  refrain  from  giving  here  a  chapter  contributed  by  my 
son,  Green  Majors,  which  will  be  found  both  instructive  and 
interesting.  He  says:  "  At  the  inexperienced  age  of  twelve 
years  I  was  seized  with  a  strong  desire  to  go  overland  to 
Montana.  For  a  number  of  years  I  had  lived  at  Nebraska 
City,  on  the  Missouri  River,  a  starting  point  in  those  days 
for  west-bound  freight  and  emigrant  wagon  trains;  and 
having  so  long  seen  the  stage-coaches  go  bounding  over 
the  hills  and  rolling  prairies,  headed  for  the  golden  West, 
it  was  with  a  feeling  of  great  satisfaction  that  on  the  morn- 
ing of  April  26,  1866,  I  was  seated  on  top  of  one  of  those 
same  coaches,  as  a  fellow  passenger  with  my  father,  Alex- 
ander Majors,  bound  for  the  Rocky  Mountains,  and  Helena, 
Mont.,  in  particular.  To  my  boyish  fancy  the  never- 
ceasing  rocking  to  and  fro  of  the  overland  coach  of  early 
days  was  a  constant  delight.  Denver  we  reached  in  six 
days  and  nights  of  incessant  travel.  Rain  nor  shine,  floods 
nor  deserts,  stopped  us.  If  a  passenger  became  too  sleepy 
or  exhausted  to  hold  on  and  sleep  at  the  same  time  on  the 
outside,  he  could  get  inside  by  submitting  to  the  '  sardin- 
ing'  process.  But  inside,  the  clouds  of  dust  and  the 
cramped  position  necessary  to  assume  made  one  at  times 
feel  like  the  coach  were  spinning  round  like  a  top  in  the 
dark.  At  Denver  we  laid  in  a  big  supply  of  luncheon  mate- 
rial, for  the  next  continuous  ride,  without  a  town,  was  for  600 
miles,  to   Salt   Lake  City.     However,  before  we  reached 


.'.'-.'  SEVENTY    YEARS    ON    THE    FRONTIER. 

Zipn,  our  troubles  were  many,  one  of  which  was  being 
caught  in  a  violent  snow-storm  one  dark  night  while  bowl- 
ing along  over  Laramie  Plains.  Our  driver  and  his  mules 
both  lost  the  road.  He  so  notified  us,  and  we  got  out  to 
wade  through  the  innumerable  drifts  to  see  if  we  could  feel 
the  hard-beaten  trail  with  our  feet.  But  it  was  of  no  use. 
So  for  fear  we  might  wander  away  from  the  emigrant  road 
too  far,  or  that  he  might  drive  over  some  precipice  or  into 
some  hole  or  other  in  the  blinding  storm,  we  unhitched  his 
four  mules  and  tied  each  one  with  its  head  to  a  wheel,  so 
there  could  be  no  runaway,  and  then  all  hands  got  back 
into  the  coach,  tucked  our  wraps  about  us  as  best  we  could, 
and  there  we  sat,  like  Patience  on  a  monument,  smiling  at 
grief,  with  the  wind  whistling  in  all  its  many  sad  cadences 
through  the  flapping  wings  of  that  desolate  coach,  until  the 
longest  night  I  ever  saw  went  by.  Next  morning  we  found 
two  and  a  half  feet  of  'the  beautiful'  on  the  level,  and 
the  struggle  to  gain  another  station  began.  We  tramped 
snow  and  broke  trails  for  that  coach  to  get  through  the 
drifts  for  about  ten  or  fifteen  miles,  before  we  got  to  a 
lower  altitude,  out  of  the  path  of  the  storm,  for  all  of  which 
distance  we  of  course  paid  the  stage  company  25  cents  a 
mile  fare,  with  no  baggage  allowance  to  speak  of. 

"  Not  a  great  ways  farther  on,  we  struck  the  famous  Bitter 
Creek  country,  a  section  that  was  the  terror  of  travelers,  be- 
cause of  poor  grass,  water  that  was  foul  and  bitter,  and  alkali 
plains  that  were  terrific  on  man  and  beast.  At  one  place 
along  Bitter  Creek  its  water  was  as  red  as  blood,  at  another 
as  yellow  as  an  orange;  but  generally  its  color  was  a  dark 
muddy  drab,  and  highly  impregnated  with  vegetable  and 
earthy  matter.  I  suppose  Bitter  Creek  is  the  only  place 
on  earth  where  highwaymen  had  the  cold-blooded  nerve  to 
charge  travelers  $1.50  for  nothing  but  fat  bacon,  poorly 
cooked,  and  an  inferior  quality  of  mustard,  as  a  meal's  vict- 

a  hoy's  trip  overland.  223 

uals,  but  the  stage  station-keepers  had  it  there.  By  the 
time  we  finished  our  Bitter  Creek  experience  we  were  proof 
against  peril,  so  that  subsequent  floods  in  the  canons  from 
melting  snows  in  the  mountains,  sitting  bolt  upright  with 
three  on  a  seat  to  sleep  over  the  rough  mountain  roads  at 
night,  and  passing  over  long  stretches  of  country  with  no 
water  fit  to  drink,  were  trivial  circumstances. 

"  After  a  thirty-day  siege  of  this  sort  of  experience,  we 
alighted  on  the  gravelly  streets  of  Helena,  Mont.,  then  a 
town  of  canvas  houses  and  tents,  and  log  huts.  Helena  at 
that  time  was  the  liveliest  town  I  have  ever  seen  in  my  life, 
either  in  America  or  Europe,  over  the  whole  of  both  of 
which  I  have  since  traveled.  At  that  time  her  business 
houses  were  largely  propped  up  on  stilts,  while  underneath 
the  red-shirted  placer  miner  was  washing  the  blue  gravel 
soil  for  gold-dust.  Her  streets,  in  many  places,  were 
bridged  over,  to  allow  of  the  same  thing.  Sunday  was  the 
liveliest  day  in  the  week  for  business.  The  plainest  meal  at 
a  restaurant  cost  $1.50,  and  bakery  pies,  with  brown  paper 
used  for  a  crust,  cost  75  cents  each.  Everybody  had  money, 
and  nobody  appeared  to  want  to  keep  what  he  had.  Gold- 
dust  was  the  money  of  the  country,  no  greenbacks  nor 
coin  being  used.  A  pennyweight  of  the  yellow  dust  passed 
for  a  dollar,  but  expert  cashiers,  at  the  gaming  places 
and  stores,  were  said  to  know  how  to  weigh  the  article 
so  deftly  that  $100  of  it  in  value  would  only  go  $50  in 
distance.  However,  wages  were  very  high,  and  so  was 
everything  else,  so  that  if  a  man  were  robbed  pretty  badly, 
he  could  soon  recuperate  his  lost  fortunes.  There  were  no 
churches  in  Helena  then,  if,  indeed,  there  were  any  in  the 
Territory.  The  first  Sunday  after  arriving  there,  I  remem- 
ber attending  divine  service  in  a  muslin  building,  but  the 
blacksmith's  hammer  next  door  and  the  lusty  auctioneer's 
voice  in  the  street  made  so  much  noise  the  congregation 


could  nut  understand  the  divine's  injunctions,  so  that 
church-going  there,  at  that  time,  was  attended  with  con- 
siderable annoyance.  Everything  was  crude  and  primitive, 
everybody  was  cordial,  generous,  and  open-hearted,  and 
anything  or  anybody  justly  appealing  to  those  roughly 
appareled  yeomanry  for  aid  or  sympathy  invariably  opened 
the  floodgates  of  their  plenty  and  fired  the  great,  deep, 
warm  heart-throbs  of  their  noble  natures. 

"  But  they  were  as  prompt  in  meting  out  retributive  justice 
to  the  wrong-doer  as  in  loosing  their  purse-strings  to  a 
worthy  applicant,  and  many  were  the  wayward  souls  jerked 
into  eternity  through  the  deadly  and  inexorable  noose  of 
the  ubiquitous  vigilante,  whose  will  was  law,  and  the  objects 
of  whose  adverse  edicts  were  soon  plainly  told  to  recite 
their  last  prayers  in  the  body. 

"Cattle-raising  on  the  rich,  nutritious  bunch-grass  of  the 
broad  valleys  of  the  Territory  also  soon  grew  to  be  a  very 
lucrative  business,  to  supply  the  numerous  placer-mining 
towns  of  Montana,  a  number  of  which  were  quite  important 
and  thrifty  camps  at  that  time.  Farming  was  also  followed 
to  a  limited  extent.  Inasmuch  as  potatoes,  cabbage,  and 
other  vegetables  were  largely  imported  from  Salt  Lake, 
about  five  hundred  miles,  all  sorts  of  soil  products  yielded 
handsome  returns. 

"  Montana  has  had  her  periods  of  depression  as  well  as  of 
prosperity.  For  after  her  then-discovered  and  easily  acces- 
sible placer  ground  became  washed  out,  which  took  several 
years,  times  there  grew  very  dull,  but  not  until  something 
like  $200,000,000  worth  of  gold  had  been  washed  from  her 
auriferous  gulches  and  hillsides.  Quartz  mining  was  rare 
in  those  days,  because  freight  and  everything  else  was  so 
high  that  few  had  the  means  to  engage  in  that  kind  of 
mining.  From  a  State  of  such  prosperous  activity  in  the 
sixties,  with  a  large  and  well-to-do  population,  in  1874-75 

a  boy's  trip  overland.  225 

it  grew  so  dull  and  so  many  had  left  the  Territory  that 
those  remaining  wished  they  could  get  away  too.  In  the 
Centennial  year  of  1876,  however,  Montana's  true  era  of 
prosperity  dawned,  when  rich  silver  quartz  was  discovered 
at  the  now  famous  city  of  Butte,  styled  '  the  greatest  mining 
camp  on  earth.'  The  Territory's  business  in  every  avenue 
soon  rose  from  its  low  ebb  to  an  affluent  flood,  all  kinds 
and  lines  almost  immediately  feeling  its  vitalizing,  stimu- 
lating influence.  From  an  isolated  mountain  fastness  it 
forthwith  again  became  the  theater  of  activity  and  thrift,  and 
the  stream  of  precious  metals  that  it  again  poured  into  the 
world's  commercial  channels  not  long  after  required  the 
capacity  of  a  line  of  railroad  to  handle  its  vast  volume. 
Chicago,  New  York,  Boston,  and  other  Eastern  centers  rec- 
ognized Montana  merchants  as  among  their  heaviest  and 
best-paying  customers,  again  demonstrating  that  mining 
for  the  precious  metals  is  the  great  vanguard  of  a  rapid  and 
substantial  civilization.  The  Utah  &  Northern  was  the 
pioneer  railroad  into  her  confines,  but  its  business  soon 
grew  to  such  enormous  proportions  that  the  Northern  Pacific 
followed  in  three  or  four  years,  and  then  Jim  Hill  swooped 
in  with  his  Great  Northern  Road.  So  that  that  apparently 
isolated  section  has  three  transcontinentals  now  running 
east  and  west  through  her  entire  length,  with  the  Chicago, 
Burlington  &  Quincy  on  her  eastern  border,  impatient  to 
share  her  immense  traffic,  and  the  Butte,  Boise  &  San  Fran- 
cisco soon  to  give  her  a  direct  outlet  to  San  Francisco 

"  But  to  return  to  the  early  days  of  Montana,  certainly  one 
of  the  grandest  and  richest  sections  of  the  Union.  It  is  in 
this  State  that  the  muddy  Missouri  River  has  its  source, 
although  in  the  mountainous  part  of  its  course  its  water  is 
as  clear  as  crystal.  Here,  also,  the  broad  and  majestic 
Columbia  has  its  inception,  the  heads  of  these  two  noble 


22G  i         >     VEARS   ON'    THE    FRONTIER. 

streams  bubbling  up  out  of  her  lofty  mountains  quite  close 
together.  And  it  is  a  striking  coincidence  that  the  same 
section  that  sends  these  two  noble  streams  down  through 
fertile  fields  to  the  sea,  bearing  on  their  mighty  bosoms  the 
wealth  and  water  supply  of  empires,  should  also  possess  the 
largest  and  richest  deposits  of  the  precious  metals  that  the 
world  has  ever  known.  But  such  is  the  case.  Speaking  of 
precious  metals  recalls  some  of  the  '  stampedes  '  to  newly 
discovered  mining  camps  in  early  days.  A  'stampede  '  is 
a  panic  reversed,  usually  instigated  by  the  wild  and  rainbow- 
colored  statements  of  over-enthusiastic  persons,  and  often 
those  statements  had  utterly  no  foundation  in  fact.  Men 
would  rise  from  their  beds  in  the  middle  of  the  night,  if 
thought  necessary,  and  with  insufficient  food,  clothing,  or 
implements,  afoot  or  horseback,  climb  dark  mountains  or 
canons,  swim  floods,  tramp  over  alkali  plains,  or  submit 
to  any  and  all  kinds  of  hardships,  all  for  the  sake  of  being 
among  the  first  on  the  ground  of  newly  discovered  '  diggins.' 
'First  come,  first  served,'  was  the  rule,  and  each  man  was 
determined,  as  nearly  as  possible,  to  be  first  served.  In  the 
famous  Sun  River  stampede,  in  the  winter  of  1866-67,  Wltn 
the  mercury  coquetting  with  the  30-degree-below-zero  point, 
it  was  said  men  actually  started  out  in  their  shirt  sleeves  to 
make  a  hundred-mile  journey  through  the  deep  snow  to  the 
reputed  new  camp  without  food  supplies  to  carry  them 
through.  And  as  it  often  proved  in  other  cases,  there 
wasn't  a  particle  of  truth  in  the  reputed  rich  fields.  Dame 
Rumor,  that  ever  versatile  and  fertile-brained  jade,  had  had 
an  inning,  and  she  batted  hard,  firing  her  hot  balls  of  decep- 
tion to  all  quarters  of  the  field.  In  those  days  buffalo  were 
plentiful  on  the  plains  of  Eastern  Montana.  I  think  I  have 
seen  from  twenty  to  fifty  thousand  in  a  single  herd  there. 
They  blackened  the  hills  and  plains  with  their  shaggy 
coats,  they  swarmed  the  rivers  in  their  peregrinations,  and 

A  boy's  trip  overland.  227 

raised  clouds  of  dust  like  a  simoon  in  their  journeys  across 
the  country.  I  have  seen  hundreds  of  them  in  a  group 
mired  down  in  the  quicksands  along  the  Upper  Missouri 
River.  Hunters  walked  on  their  backs  and  shot  the  fattest 
of  them  as  trophies  of  the  chase,  and  the  ever  ubiquitous, 
keen-scented  wolves  came  and  gnawed  their  vitals  while 
they  were  yet  alive,  but  helpless,  in  their  inextricable  posi- 
tions. At  that  time  bands  of  stately  elk  also  abounded 
there.  Deer  were  plentiful,  and  the  fleet-footed  antelope 
bounded  over  every  plain.  Mountain  sheep,  whose  tender 
meat  was  fat  and  juicy,  climbed  the  terraced  rocky  cliffs  in 
great  numbers,  while  ducks,  geese,  pheasants,  fool  hens,  and 
many  other  table  fowl  were  to  be  had  for  a  little  effort  on 
the  part  of  the  hunter.  A  fool  hen  is  a  species  of  bird 
weighing  about  two  pounds,  that  is  so  foolish  as  to  allow 
the  gunner  to  lay  aside  his  fire-arms  and  kill  the  whole 
flock  with  sticks  and  stones,  so  closely  can  it  be  approached 
without  taking  flight.     Its  meat  is  delicious. 

"  Many  volumes  could  be  written  on  Montana's  early  rem- 
iniscences, her  vast  resources,  her  brilliant  past,  and  her 
glorious  prospective  future.  But  the  brief  space  allotted 
me  precludes  the  possibility  of  detailed  mention  of  people, 
places,  or  things,  and  I  reluctantly  stop  sharpening  my  pen- 
cil. Montana  has  been  great  in  the  past,  but  her  future  will 
be  much  grander  and  greater  still." 



Henry  Allen  was  the  first  postmaster  of  Denver,  so 
called,  and  charged  50  cents  for  bringing  a  letter  from 
Fort  Laramie.  The  first  Leavenworth  and  Pike's  express 
coach  arrived  there  on  May  17,  1859,  having  made  the  trip 
in  nineteen  days.  This  company  reduced  the  postage  rates 
on  letters  to  25  cents.  The  first  postmaster  of  this  concern 
was  Mr.  Fields,  who  was  succeeded  by  Judge  Amos  Steck 
in  the  fall  of  1859. 

On  June  6,  1866,  Horace  Greeley,  of  the  New  York 
Tribune,  arrived  in  Denver  by  express  coach  en  route  to 
California,  and  addressed  the  citizens  that  same  Monday 
evening.  The  next  day  he  straddled  a  mule  for  the  Greg- 
ory mines  in  company  with  A.  D.  Richardson,  then  a 
Western  correspondent  of  the  Tribune.  On  the  nth,  they 
returned  from  Gilpin  County  mines,  and  published  under 
Greeley's  signature  in  a  News  extra  his  views  concerning 
the  extent  and  richness  of  the  gold  diggings  which  he  had 
just  witnessed  with  his  own  eyes.  The  circulation  of  this 
extra  along  the  routes  to  the  States  soon  caused  another 
immense  immigration  to  return  there  that  fall. 

On  October  3d  the  first  election  for  county  officers  was 
held  under  provisional  government.  B.  D.  Williams  was 
then  elected  to  represent  the  new  Territory  of  Jefferson  in 

The  first  marriage  took  place  in  Aurora  (West  Denver) 
October  16,  1859,  Miss  Lydia  R.  Allen  to  Mr.  John  B. 
Atkins,  Rev.  G.  W.  Fisher  officiating.     The  first  school 



ever  started  in  Denver  was  by  O.  T.  Goldrick,  October  3, 
1859,  in  a  little  cabin  with  a  mud  roof,  minus  windows  and 
doors;  and  the  first  Sunday-school  was  organized  October 
6,  1859,  by  Messrs.  Tappen,  Collier,  Adrian,  Fisher,  and 
Goldrick,  in  the  preacher's  cabin  on  the  west  bank  of  Cherry 

The  first  theater,  called  Apollo,  was  opened  in  Denver 
October  3,  1859,  by  D.  R.  Thorn's  troupe  from  Leaven- 
worth, with  Sam  D.  Hunter  for  leading  man  and  Miss  Rose 
Wakely  for  leading  lady.  Old-timers  will  remember  her 
well.  She  was  considered  the  most  beautiful  lady  that 
had  graced  Denver  City  in  the  first  years  of  its  existence. 

The  first  election  for  territorial  officers  and  legislative 
assembly  occurred  October  24,  1859,  when  R.  W.  Steele,  a 
miner,  was  made  first  governor.  Over  2,000  votes  were  cast 
in  the  twenty-seven  precincts  of  the  Territory  at  that  election. 

The  first  legislature  assembled  in  Denver  November  7, 
1859,  comprising  eight  councilmen  and  nineteen  representa- 
tives. On  New  Year's,  i860,  Denver  had  about  200  houses 
and  Aurora  (now  West  Denver)  nearly  400,  with  a  total 
combined  city  census  of  over  1,000  people,  representing  all 
classes,  creeds,  and  nationalities;  hence  its  cosmopolitan 
style  from  that  day  to  this.  Many  brick  and  frame  build- 
ings, stores,  hotels,  shops,  and  dwellings  were  put  up  in 
both  towns  during  i860.  One  was  the  banking  house  of 
Streeter  &  Hobbs,  corner  of  Eleventh  and  Laramie  streets. 
The  rate  of  interest  charged  by  them  at  that  time  was  from  10 
to  25  per  cent  per  month,  according  to  the  collateral  security, 
and  from  10  to  25  cents  per  hundred  pounds  was  the  rate 
from  the  Missouri  River  for  freight  by  ox  or  mule  train. 

On  the  8th  of  December,  the  day  of  the  adjournment  of 
the  first  legislature,  an  election  was  held  by  those  in  favor 
of  remaining  under  the  Kansas  regime,  and  Capt.  Richard 
Sopris  was  sent  as  representative  in  the  Kansas  legislature. 


John  C.  Moore  was  elected  the  first  mayor  of  Dehv«>*v 
December  19,  1859,  under  a  city  charter  granted  by  tne 
first  provisional  legislature.  In  the  fall  of  '59  there  Fere 
no  particular  politics  there.  The  great  question  of  the  day 
was:  "  Are  you  a  Denver  man  or  an  Aurorian?"  Rivalry 
ran  high  between  the  two  towns  until  the  consolidation  of 
Denver,  Aurora,  and  Highlands,  April  3,  i860.  The  first 
officers  of  the  Aurora  town  company  were  W.  A.  McFadding, 
president,  and  Dr.  L.  J.  Russell,  secretary.  Those  of  the 
Denver  town  company  were  E.  P.  Stout,  president,  and 
H.  P.  A.  Smith,  secretary.  Strange  to  say,  not  a  single  one 
of  these  property  holders  is  now  living  there,  or  is  now  the 
owner  of  a  single  lot  in  this  large  city. 

I  must  not  forget  an  event  that  happened  in  Denver 
then.  A  family  arrived  there  from  the  East,  consisting  of 
father,  mother,  two  daughters,  and  a  son.  One  of  the 
young  Denverites  took  a  fancy  to  one  of  the  young  ladies, 
but  parents  and  son  were  opposed  to  the  young  man;  yet 
he  was  not  to  be  got  rid  of.  One  evening  he  took  advan- 
tage of  the  absence  of  the  parents  and  married  the  girl,  and 
on  the  return  of  the  parents  in  the  evening  the  mother  and 
son  started  to  look  for  them,  and  threatened  to  kill  the 
young  man  if  they  could  find  him.  They  found  them  at 
the  Platte  House,  on  Blake  Street.  The  mother  of  the 
girl  went  to  break  In  the  door,  but  finally  concluded  not  to 
do  so,  and  left  for  her  home.  The  parties  are  still  living  in 
Denver,  and  are  well  off  and  greatly  respected. 

On  November  xo,  1859,  a  lager-beer  brewery  was  estab- 
lished by  Solomon,  Tascher  &  Co.  It  was  said  that  the 
beer  was  drinkable.  It  was  as  innocent  of  malt  and  hops 
as  our  early  whisky  was  of  wheat  or  rye. 

Thirty-three  years  ago  next  July  the  patriotic  pioneers 
celebrated  the  Fourth  of  July  in  this  city.  It  took  place  in 
a  grove  near  the  mouth  of  Cherry  Creek.     One  Doctor  Fox 

THE    DENVER    OF    EARLY    DAYS.  231 

read  the  Declaration,  and  James  K.  Shaffer  delivered  an 
oration.     There  was  music  by  the  Council  Bluffs  band. 

July  12,  i860,  a  series  of  murders  and  violence  began 
there  by  desperadoes  who  had  infested  Denver  during  the 
summer.  They  tried  to  muzzle  the  mouth  of  the  press, 
which  bravely  condemned  their  dastardly  outrages,  and  as  a 
consequence  they  raided  the  Rocky  Mountain  News  and 
tried  to  kill  its  proprietor. 

The  first  regular  United  States  mail  arrived  there  on 
August  10,  i860;  P.  W.  McClure,  postmaster.  The  first  Odd 
Fellows  lodge  was  instituted  there  on  Christmas  Eve,  i860. 

The  close  of  the  year  i860  saw  60,000  people  in  the 
Territory,  4,000  of  whom  were  in  and  around  Denver. 

At  this  juncture  of  time  Denver  was  tolerably  well 
favored  with  the  three  great  engines  of  civilization,  to-wit, 
schools,  churches,  and  newspapers.  There  were  three  day 
schools,  two  or  three  newspapers,  and  the  following  church 
denominations,  each  with  a  place  for  holding  services: 
Methodist  Episcopal,  Methodist  Episcopal  South,  Roman 
Catholic,  Presbyterian,  and  Protestant  Episcopal.  The 
latter  denomination  was  well  and  truly  cared  for  by  the 
Rev.  J.  H.  Kehler,  who  established  St.  John's  Church  in  the 
wilderness,  as  he  then  called  it.  Therefore,  to  the  praise  of 
our  pioneers  let  it  be  recorded  that  though  then  remiss  in 
many  of  the  modern  enterprises,  their  liberality  encouraged 
religion,  morality,  and  popular  education.  They  claimed 
that  Whittier's  apostrophe  to  Massachusetts  might  and 
should  apply  equally  to  Colorado  in  these  regards: 

The  riches  of  our  commonwealth 
Are  free,  strong  minds  and  hearts  of  health; 
And  more  to  her  than  gold  or  grain 
The  cunning  hand  and  cultured  brain. 
Nor  heeds  the  sceptic's  puny  hands, 
While  near  the  school  the  church-spire  stands; 
Nor  fears  the  blinded  bigot's  rule, 
While  near  the  church-spire  stands  the  school. 



The  Denver  of  to-day,  the  capital  of  Colorado,  has  a 
population  of  160,000,  and  it  stands  at  an  elevation  of 
5,196  feet. 

In  1858  the  Pike's  Peak  gold  excitement  caused  a  rush 
from  the  East  to  Colorado,  and  a  camp  was  pitched  at  the 
junction  of  Cherry  Creek  and  the  Platte.  From  this  small 
beginning  sprang  Denver,  the  "  Queen  City  of  the  Plains." 
Beautiful  in  situation,  with  the  great  range  of  the  Rocky 
Mountains  towering  in  the  west,  and  the  illimitable  plains 
stretching  600  miles  to  the  Missouri  River  on  the  east, 
Denver  is  worthy  of  the  attention  and  admiration  of  all 
who  behold  it.  It  is  one  of  the  greatest  railroad  points  in 
the  West,  twelve  railroads  centering  here  and  radiating  to 
all  parts  of  the  United  States,  thus  giving  Denver  almost 
unsurpassed  facilities  for  transcontinental  traffic.  The 
foot-hills  of  the  Rocky  Mountains  are  only  fourteen  miles 
distant,  and  Long's  Peak,  James'  Peak,  Gray's  Peak,  and 
Pike's  Peak  are  in  plain  view,  connected  by  the  gleaming 
serrated  line  of  the  Snowy  Range.  Parks,  boulevards, 
opera  houses,  and  costly  and  elegant  public  buildings  and 
private  residences  are  a  few  of  the  most  obvious  signs  of 
wealth,  cultivation,  and  luxury  which  are  to  be  found  in 
Colorado's  capital.  Among  the  principal  places  of  inter- 
est may  be  mentioned  the  Tabor  Grand  Opera  House, 
erected  at  a  cost  of  $850,000,  and  which  is  the  finest  build- 
ing of  its  kind  in  America,  having  but  one  rival  in  the 
world,  the  Grand  Opera  House  in  Paris;  the  United  States 



Mint;  the  County  Court  House,  a  most  elegant  and  costly 
structure  occupying  an  entire  block  with  the  buildings  and 
grounds;  the  City  Hall,  University  of  Denver,  St.  Mary's 
Academy,  Wolfe  Hall,  Trinity  M.  E.  Church,  St.  John's 
Cathedral,  College  of  the  Sacred  Heart,  Jarvis  Hall,  Bap- 
tist Female  College,  Brown's  Palace  Hotel,  and  hotels  and 
business  blocks,  any  of  which  would  do  credit  to  any  of  the 
metropolitan  cities  of  the  East.  The  city  has  extensive 
systems  of  street  cars,  motor  lines  and  cables,  is  lighted  by 
gas  and  electricity,  has  excellent  waterworks,  a  well-disci- 
plined and  effective  paid  fire  department,  good  police 
force,  and  telephone  communication  in  the  city  and  with 
suburban  towns  to  the  distance  of  120  miles.  The  dis- 
covery that  artesian  wells  can  be  sunk  successfully  has 
added  much  to  the  attractiveness  of  the  city.  The  water 
is  almost  chemically  pure,  and  is  forced  to  a  great 
height  by  hydrostatic  pressure.  Denver  is  the  objective 
point  for  a  large  tourist  travel,  and  it  is  estimated  that 
the  arrivals  during  the  year  will  average  1,000  daily.  The 
climate  is  heathful  and  invigorating,  and  invalids  find  this 
an  excellent  place  to  regain  their  health.  There  is  always 
some  pleasing  attraction  to  divert  the  mind.  The  theaters 
are  open  the  year  round,  and  the  best  companies  and  stars 
from  the  East  appear  upon  their  boards.  The  churches  are 
presided  over  by  clergymen  of  talent  and  culture.  The 
newspapers  are  metropolitan  in  size  and  management.  In 
a  word,  Denver  is  one  of  the  most  pleasant  residence  cities 
in  the  world.  Rapid  as  has  been  the  growth  of  this  won- 
derful city,  it  is  evident  that  it  is  but  on  the  threshold  of 
its  prosperity,  and  that  the  future  holds  for  it  much  more 
and  greater  success  than  has  been  vouchsafed  it  in  the  past. 
Thirty-three  miles  south  of  Denver,  on  the  Denver  & 
Rio  Grande  Railroad,  is  Castle  Rock.  It  is  a  picturesque 
little  village,  and  derives  its  name  from  a  bold  and  remark- 


able  promontory  which  springs  directly  from  the  plain  and 
under  whose  shadow  the  village  stands.  This  promontory 
always  attracts  the  attention  of  tourists,  and  is  therefore 
worthy  of  special  mention. 

Perry  Park  is  situated  within  half  an  hour's  drive  of 
Larkspur  Station,  and  in  natural  attractions  has  few  if  any 
superiors  in  the  State.  Bountifully  supplied  with  pure  and 
sparkling  water,  and  protected  on  the  west  by  the  Front 
Range  of  mountains,  it  forms  a  quiet  and  romantic  resting- 
place  for  those  who  wish  a  pleasant  summer's  outing  free 
from  the  annoyances  of  business.  The  park  is  filled  with 
many  remarkable  rock  formations  equal  in  unique  grandeur 
to  those  of  the  better  known  but  not  more  attractive  Garden 
of  the  Gods. 

Palmer  Lake  is  situated  on  the  Denver  &  Rio  Grande 
Railroad,  about  midway  between  Denver  and  Pueblo,  the 
two  principal  towns  of  Colorado.  It  was  formerly  called 
"Divide,"  a  very  significant  and  appropriate  title,  as  on  the 
crest  of  this  summit  the  waters  divide,  flowing  northward 
into  the  Platte,  which  empties  into  the  Missouri,  and  south- 
ward into  the  Arkansas  as  it  wends  its  way  to  the 

The  traveler  will  enjoy  a  most  delightful  variety  of 
scenery.  On  either  side  are  rolling  plains  dotted  with 
numerous  herds  of  sheep  and  cattle,  agricultural  settle- 
ments with  cultivated  ranches,  giving  evidence  of  enter- 
prise and  thrift.  Now  and  then  we  catch  a  glimpse  of  the 
river  threading  its  way  amid  valleys  and  glens,  while  stretch- 
ing away  in  the  distance  the  cliffs  and  towering  peaks  of 
the  Snowy  Range,  in  their  dazzling  whiteness,  appear  like 
fleecy  clouds  upon  the  horizon,  and  form  a  striking  contrast 
with  the  blue-tinted  foot-hills,  which,  as  we  near  them, 
appear  covered  with  oak  shrubbery,  bright  flowers,  castled 
rocks,  scattered  pines,  and  quaking  aspen  glimmering  in  the 

THE    DENVER    OF    TO-DAY    AND    ITS   ENVIRONS.         235 

sunshine.  Gradually  ascending  the  mountain  pathway  we 
reach  the  summit  (2,000  feet  higher  than  either  Denver  or 
Pueblo),  and  entering  a  gap  in  the  mountains,  before  us 
lies  Palmer  Lake.  Nestled  here  in  this  mountain  scenery, 
sparkling  like  a  diamond  in  its  emerald  setting,  this  lake  is 
a  delightful  surprise  to  the  tourist — a  rare  and  unlooked- 
for  feature  in  the  landscape. 

Glen  Park,  the  Colorado  Chautauqua,  is  within  half  a  mile 
of  Palmer  Lake,  in  a  charming  park-like  expanse  between 
two  mountain  streamlets,  and  at  the  mouth  of  a  beautiful 
canon,  fifty-three  miles  from  Denver.  One  hundred  and 
fifty  acres  are  comprised  in  the  town  site.  The  park  is  at 
the  foot  of  the  Rocky  Mountain  range,  and  is  sheltered  at 
the  rear  by  a  towering  cliff,  2,000  feet  high,  and  on  two 
sides  by  small  spurs  of  the  range.  A  noble  growth  of  large 
pines  is  scattered  over  the  park.  A  skillful  landscape 
engineer  has  taken  advantage  of  every  natural  beauty,  and 
studied  the  best  topographical  effect  in  laying  out  the 
streets,  parks,  reservoirs,  drives,  walks,  trails,  and  lookout 
points.  It  is  a  spot  that  must  be  seen  to  be  appreciated, 
and  every  visitor  whose  opinion  has  been  learned  has  come 
away  captivated.  There  are  building  sites  for  all  tastes. 
Some  have  a  grand  outlook,  taking  in  a  sweep  of  the  val- 
ley for  a  distance  of  fifty  miles. 

Colorado  Springs  is  the  county  seat  of  El  Paso  County, 
has  a  population  of  12,000,  and  stands  at  an  elevation  of 
5,982  feet.  This  delightful  little  city  is  essentially  one  of 
homes,  where  the  families  of  many  of  the  most  influential 
business  men  of  the  State  reside.  It  is  a  temperance  town, 
with  charming  society,  and  an  elegant  opera  house,  built  as  a 
place  of  enjoyment  rather  than  as  an  investment,  by  some 
of  the  most  successful  citizens.  There  are  many  points  of 
Scenic  interest  within  an  hour's  ride  of  the  city.  Among 
!  may  be  mentioned  Cheyenne  Canons,  Austin's  Glen, 


Blair  Athol,  Queen's  Canon,  and  Glen  Eyrie.  No  more 
delightful  places  can  be  found  in  which  to  enjoy  the  beau- 
tiful in  nature  and  to  breathe  the  health-giving  and  exhil- 
arating air  than  these  mountains  and  Pike's  Peak.  There 
are  a  number  of  smaller  hotels  and  a  good  supply  of  com- 
fortable and  home-like  boarding  houses,  in  different  parts 
of  the  town;  also  fine  livery  stables,  where  riding  and  driv- 
ing horses  and  carriages  of  the  best  are  furnished  at  rea- 
sonable rates. 

Colorado  City,  the  first  Territorial  capital  of  Colorado, 
and  at  present  a  thriving  railroad  town,  is  situated  on  the 
Denver  &  Rio  Grande  Railroad,  midway  between  Colorado 
Springs  and  Manitou  Springs,  seventy-eight  miles  from 

Manitou  Springs.  Of  all  nature's  lovely  spots  few  equal, 
and  none  surpass,  in  beauty  of  location,  grandeur  of  sur- 
roundings, and  sublimity  of  scenery  this  veritable  "  Gem  of 
the  Rockies."  As  a  pleasure  resort  it  presents  to  the  tour- 
ist more  objects  of  scenic  interest  than  any  resort  of  a 
like  character  in  the  Old  or  New  World;  while  its  wonderful 
effervescent  and  mineral  springs,  soda  and  iron,  make  it  the 
favorite  resting-place  for  invalids.  The  great  superiority 
of  Manitou's  climate  is  found  in  its  dryness  and  the  even 
temperature  the  year  round.  In  summer  the  cool  breezes 
from  the  mountains  temper  the  heat,  the  nights  always  being 
cool  enough  to  allow  that  refreshing  sleep  so  grateful  to  all 
and  most  needed  by  the  invalid. 

There  are  more  points  of  interest  near  Manitou  than  any 
other  watering  place  in  the  world.  The  following  is  a  par- 
tial list,  with  the  distances  in  miles  from  town  attached: 


Ruxton  Creek  to  Iron  Springs  and  Hotel i 

Ute  Pass  to  Rainbow  Falls  and  Grand  Cavern,      i^ 
Red  Canon 3 

THE   DENVER    OF   TO-DAY    AND    ITS   ENVIRONS.         237 


Crystal  Park 3 

Garden  of  the  Gods 3 

Glen  Eyrie 5 

Monument  Park  by  trail 7^ 

Monument  Park  by  carriage 9 

Seven  Lakes  by  horse  trail 9 

Seven  Lakes  by  carriage  road 12 

North  Cheyenne  Canon 8£ 

South  Cheyenne  Canon 9 

Summit  of  Pike's  Peak 12 

In  addition  to  these  well-known  localities  there  are  scores 
of  canons,  caves,  waterfalls,  and  charming  nooks  which  the 
sojourner  for  health  or  pleasure  can  seek  out  for  himself. 

The  Garden  of  the  Gods  has  been  described  and  pho- 
tographed more  than  any  other  place  of  scenic  interest  in 
Colorado,  but  words  or  pictures  fail  to  give  even  the 
faintest  idea  of  its  wealth  of  gorgeous  color,  or  of  the 
noble  view  which  its  gateway  frames.  The  portals  of  the 
gateway  spring  from  the  level  plain  to  a  height  of  330 
feet,  and  glow  with  the  most  brilliant  coloring  of  red. 
There  is  an  outer  parapet  of  pure  white,  and  there  are 
inner  columns  of  varied  hues,  the  whole  suggesting  the 
ruins  of  a  vast  temple,  once  the  receptacle  of  the  sacred 
shrine  of  the  long-buried  gods.  Within  the  garden  the 
rocks  assume  strange  mimetic  forms,  and  the  imagination 
of  the  spectator  is  kept  busy  discovering  resemblances  to 
beasts  or  birds,  of  men  and  women,  and  of  strange  freaks 
in  architecture. 

Glen  Eyrie  is  situated  at  the  entrance  to  Queen's 
Canon,  and  is  a  wild  and  romantic  retreat,  in  which  is 
built  the  summer  residence  of  a  gentleman  of  wealth, 
whose  permanent  home  is  now  in  the  East.  Within  the 
glen,  which  is  made  sylvan   by  thickly  growing  native 


shrubbery,  covered  with  wild  clematis,  are  a  great  confu- 
sion of  enormous  pillars  of  exquisite  tinted  pink  sand- 

Cathedral  Rock  and  the  Major  Domo,  which  have 
gained  a  world-wide  fame  through  pictures  and  descrip- 
tions, are  to  be  found  in  Glen  Eyrie,  as  are  also  "  The 
Sisters,"  "Vulcan's  Anvil,"  and  "  Melrose  Abbey."  These 
are  all  grand  and  impressive  shapes  of  stone  glowing  with 
the  most  brilliant  hues  of  red  and  pink,  and  cream  and 
white,  and  umber. 

Blair  Athol  is  about  a  mile  north  of  Glen  Eyrie,  and  resem- 
bles the  latter,  with  the  exception  of  shrubbery  and  water. 
No  residence  has  been  erected  here,  as  the  difficulty  of  ob- 
taining water  has  been  too  great  to  be  successfully  over- 
come. The  quaint  forms  of  rock  and  their  brilliant  color, 
together  with  the  frequent  shade  of  evergreen  trees,  make 
this  an  interesting  and  attractive  spot. 

Bear  Creek  Canon  is  reached  by  taking  the  road  to 
Colorado  Springs  and  turning  to  the  right  just  before 
reaching  Colorado  City.  This  is  a  beautiful  drive  of  five 
miles,  at  the  end  of  which  the  Government  trail  to  Pike's 
Peak  carries  the  horseman  and  footman  to  the  summit. 
The  canon  is  a  picturesque  wooded  glen,  with  a  dashing 
torrent  and  abounding  in  wild  flowers.  Bears  are  still 
frequently  seen  here,  but  they  shrink  modestly  from  forc- 
ing their  attention  upon  strangers,  and  retire  precipitately 
when  made  aware  of  the  vicinity  of  callers. 

The  Cheyenne  Canons  are  favorite  resorts  for  picnic 
and  pleasure  parties.  Both  these  canons  give  one  a  good 
idea  of  the  gorges  which  abound  in  the  fastnesses  of  the 
Rocky  Mountains.  They  are  deep  gashes  in  the  heart  of 
Cheyenne  Mountain,  and  display  grand  faces  of  magnifi- 
cent red  granite  hundreds  of  feet  in  height.  The  Doug- 
las spruce,  the  Rocky  Mountain  pine,  the  white  spruce,  and 


that  most  lovely  tree  of  all,  the  Picca  grandis,  grow  in 
great  numbers  in  both  canons,  while  the  Virginia  creeper, 
two  species  of  clematis  (mauve  and  white),  and  other 
climbers  add  grace  and  charm  to  the  scene.  A  stairway 
at  the  Seven  Falls  in  South  Canon  leads  to  the  last  resting 
place  of  "  H.  H."  (Helen  Hunt  Jackson),  who  selected  this 
spot  for  her  grave.  The  stream  in  North  Cheyenne  Canon 
is  larger  than  that  in  the  southern  gorge,  but  the  latter 
forms  a  magnificent  cascade,  descending  500  feet  in  seven 

Seven  Falls  is  the  name  given  to  the  cascade  referred  to 
above,  and  it  is  well  worthy  the  admiration  its  beauty 
always  excites. 

The  Cheyenne  Mountain  toll-road  is  well  worth  seeing. 
It  ascends  the  mountains  about  one-half  mile  south  of  the 
entrance  to  South  Cheyenne  Canon,  winding,  with  easy 
grades,  through  very  fine  scenery,  and  at  times  affording 
glimpses  down  in  the  canon  below. 

The  Seven  Lakes  are  reached  by  means  of  the  last  de- 
scribed road.  The  lakes  are  picturesque,  and  such  sheets 
of  water  usually  are  among  the  mountains,  and  there  is  a 
hotel  for  the  accommodation  of  visitors. 

"My  Garden  "  is  a  very  favorite  resort,  discovered  by 
"  H.  H.,"  the  authoress  and  poet.  Take  the  Cheyenne 
road  one  and  one-half  miles  from  Colorado  Springs,  then 
follow  due  south  past  Broad  Moor  Dairy  Farm  half  a 
mile,  then  through  a  gate  across  the  "  Big  Hollow,"  and 
"  My  Garden  "  is  reached,  a  lovely  pine  grove  crowning 
the  plateau,  with  an  exquisite  view  of  the  range  behind  it. 

Monument  Park,  Edgerton  Station,  sixty-seven  miles 
south  from  Denver  and  eight  miles  northward  from  Colo- 
rado Springs  and  Manitou,  is  a  pleasant  day's  excursion. 
"The  Pines"  is  a  comfortable  hotel,  situated  in  the  cen- 
ter of  the  park,  one-half  mile  from  the  depot,  commanding 


a  fine  view  of  Pike's  Peak  and  Cheyenne  Mountain  Range; 
is  open  at  all  times  for  the  accommodation  of  guests,  and 
can  furnish  saddle-horses  and  carriages  on  premises.  This 
park  is  chiefly  remarkable  for  its  very  fantastic  forms,  in 
which  time  and  the  action  of  air  and  water  have  worn  the 
cream-colored  sandstone  rocks  which  the  valleys  have  ex- 
posed, forming  grotesque  groups  of  figures,  some  of  them 
resembling  human  beings,  viz.:  Dutch  Wedding,  Quaker 
Meeting,  Lone  Sentinel,  Dutch  Parliament,  Vulcan's  An- 
vil and  Workshop,  Romeo  and  Juliet,  Necropolis,  or  Silent 
City,  The  Duchess,  Mother  Judy,  and  Colonnade.  All  of 
these,  and  many  others  too  numerous  to  mention,  are 
within  easy  walking  distance  of  "  The  Pines." 

A  very  pleasant  drive  can  be  taken  to  Templeton's  Gap, 
which  is  situated  just  north  of  Austin's  Bluffs,  and  is  a 
sharp  depression  in  the  surrounding  hills,  characterized  by 
quaint  monumental  forms  of  rock. 

Ute  Pass  leads  westward  from  Manitou  over  the  range 
into  South  Park.  It  is  now  a  wagon  road  cut  in  many 
places  from  the  face  of  the  cliff,  the  rocks  towering  thou- 
sands of  feet  above  it  on  one  side  and  on  the  other  present- 
ing a  sheer  descent  of  nearly  as  many  feet  down  to  where 
the  fountain  brawls  along  over  its  rugged  channel.  The 
pass  was  formerly  used  as  a  pony  trail  by  the  Ute  Indians 
in  their  descent  to  the  plains  and  in  their  visits  to  the  "  Big 
Medicine"  of  the  healing  springs — the  name  given  Mani- 
tou by  the  aborigines.  No  pleasanter  ride  or  drive  can  be 
taken  than  up  Ute  Pass.  The  scenery  is  grand  and  the 
view  one  of  great  loveliness. 

Rainbow  Falls  are  only  a  mile  and  a  half  from  Manitou 
up  the  Pass,  and  are  well  worthy  of  a  visit.  They  are  the 
most  accessible  and  the  most  beautiful  on  the  eastern  slope 
of  the  Rocky  Mountains,  and  are  visited  by  thousands  of 
tourists  every  season. 

THE    DENVER    OF    TO-DAY    AND    ITS   ENVIRONS.         241 

The  Great  Manitou  Caverns  have  added  an  attractive 
feature  to  the  diversified  wonders  of  nature  surrounding 
Manitou  Springs.  The  caverns  are  located  one  and  a  half 
miles  from  Manitou  Springs.  They  were  discovered  by 
their  present  owner,  Mr.  George  W.  Snider,  in  the  year  1881, 
but  were  only  opened  to  the  public  in  1885. 

The  cog-wheel  railroad  to  the  summit  of  Pike's  Peak, 
which  was  completed  and  put  in  operation  in  July,  1891,  is 
the  most  novel  railway  in  the  world.  When  it  reaches  its 
objective  point  above  the  clouds,  at  a  height  of  14,147  feet 
above  sea-level,  it  renders  almost  insignificant  by  compari- 
son the  famous  cog-way  up  Mount  Washington  and  the 
incline  railway  up  the  Rhigi  in  Switzerland.  From  its 
station  in  Manitou,  just  above  the  Iron  Springs,  to  the 
station  on  the  summit  of  Pike's  Peak,  the  Manitou  & 
Pike's  Peak  Railway  is  just  eight  and  three-quarters  miles 
in  length.  The  cost  of  construction  of  the  road  was  a  half 
million  dollars.  While  it  could  have  been  built  for  many 
thousands  of  dollars  less  by  putting  in  wooden  bridges  and 
trestles,  light  ties  and  light  rails,  those  in  charge  of  the 
building  of  the  road  would  not  consent  to  the  use  of  any 
flimsy  material  for  the  sake  of  saving  any  sum  of  money — 
a  substantial  road  that  would  insure  absolute  safety  being 
economical,  as  well  as  a  guarantee  for  putting  the  road 
from  the  start  on  a  paying  basis.  The  road-bed  is  solid 
and  from  fifteen  to  twenty  feet  wide,  leaving  fully  five  feet 
on  each  side  of  the  cars.  The  culverts  are  solid  masonry; 
the  four  short  bridges  are  of  iron  girders  resting  on  first- 
class  masonry.  There  are  an  extra  number  of  ties,  which 
are  extra  heavy  and  extra  long.  The  rails  are  standard 
"  T  "  rails,  with  a  double  cog  rail  in  the  center.  This  cog 
rail  weighs  no  tons  to  the  mile,  which  is  unusually  heavy. 
The  rail  is  built  in  sections,  each  being  put  into  a  lathe 
and  the  teeth  cut.     The  contract  requires  that  each  tooth 



shall  be  within  the  fifteenth  part  of  an  inch  of  the  size 
specified.  At  intervals  of  every  200  feet  the  track  is 
anchored  to  solid  masonry  to  prevent  any  possibility  of  the 
track  slipping  from  its  bed.  The  cars  are  designed  to 
hang  low,  within  eighteen  inches  of  the  rails.  Each 
engine  built  by  the  Baldwin  Locomotive  Works  has  three 
cog  and  pinion  appliances,  which  can  be  worked  together 
or  independently.  In  each  cog  appliance  is  a  double  set 
of  pinion  brakes  that  work  in  the  cog,  either  one  of  which 
when  used  can  stop  the  engine  in  ten  inches,  going  either 
way,  on  any  grade  and  at  the  maximum  speed,  eight  miles 
an  hour.  The  cars  are  not  tilted,  but  the  seats  are  arranged 
so  as  to  give  the  passenger  a  level  sitting.  The  engine 
pushes  the  cars  instead  of  drawing  them,  which  is  of  great 
advantage.  And  such  is  Denver  to-day,  and  its  attractive 
surroundings,  changed  from  a  border  wilderness  to  civil- 
ization and  grandeur  within  thirty  years. 



It  may  not  be  amiss  just  here,  while  writing  of  this 
"  Land  of  the  Setting  Sun,"  its  changes  from  savagery  to 
civilization,  to  refer  to  one  who  has  done  so  much  to  aid 
those  who  followed  the  Star  of  Empire  toward  the  Rocky 

I  refer  to  Col.  W.  F.  Cody,  known  in  almost  every  hamlet 
of  the  world  as  Buffalo  Bill,  one  upon  whom  the  seal  of 
manhood  has  been  set  as  upon  few  others,  who  has  risen 
by  the  force  of  his  own  gigantic  will,  his  undaunted  cour- 
age, ambition,  and  genius,  to  be  honored  among  the  rulers 
of  kingdoms,  as  well  as  by  his  own  people. 

Nearly  forty  years  ago,  in  Kansas,  a  handsome,  wiry 
little  lad  came  to  me,  accompanied  by  his  good  mother,  and 
said  that  he  had  her  permission  to  take  a  position  under 
me  as  a  messenger  boy. 

I  gave  him  the  place,  though  it  was  one  of  peril,  carry- 
ing dispatches  between  our  wagon-trains  upon  the  march 
across  the  plains,  and  little  did  I  then  suspect  that  I  was 
just  starting  out  in  life  one  who  was  destined  to  win  fame 
and  fortune. 

Then  it  was  simply  "Little  Billy  Cody,"  the  messenger, 
and  from  his  first  year  in  my  service  he  began  to  make  his 
mark,  and  lay  the  foundation  of  his  future  greatness. 

Next  it  became  "  Wild  Will,"  the  pony  express  rider  of 
the  overland,  and  as  such  he  faced  many  dangers,  and  over- 
came many  obstacles  which  would  have  crushed  a  less 
strong  nature  and  brave  heart. 


•.'44:  SEVENTY    YEARS   ON    THE    FRONTIER. 

Then  it  became  "  Bill  Cody,  the  Wagonmaster,"  then 
overland  stage  driver,  and  from  that  to  guide  across  the 
plains,  until  he  drifted  into  his  natural  calling  as  a  Govern- 
ment scout. 

"Buffalo  Bill,  the  Scout  and  Indian  Fighter,"  was  known 
from  north  to  south,  from  east  to  west,  for  his  skill,  energy, 
and  daring  as  a  ranger  of  mountain  and  plain. 

AVith  the  inborn  gift  of  a  perfect  borderman,  Buffalo 
Bill  led  armies  across  trackless  mountains  and  plains, 
through  deserts  of  death,  and  to  the  farthest  retreats  of  the 
cruel  redskins  who  were  making  war  upon  the  settlers. 

Buffalo  Bill  has  never  sought  the  reputation  of  being  a 
"man  killer." 

He  has  shunned  difficulties  of  a  personal  nature,  yet  never 
backed  down  in  the  face  of  death  in  the  discharge  of  duty. 

Brought  face  to  face  with  the  worst  elements  of  the 
frontier,  he  never  sought  the  title  of  hero  at  the  expense  of 
other  lives  and  suffering. 

An  Indian  fighter,  he  was  yet  the  friend  of  the  redskin 
in  many  ways,  and  to-day  there  is  not  a  man  more  respected 
among  all  the  fighting  tribes  than  Buffalo  Bill,  though  he 
is  feared  as  well. 

In  his  delineation  of  Wild  West  life  before  the  vast 
audiences  he  has  appeared  to  in  this  country  and  Europe, 
he  has  been  instrumental  in  educating  the  Indians  to  feel 
that  it  would  be  madness  for  them  to  continue  the  struggle 
against  the  innumerable  whites,  and  to  teach  them  that 
peace  and  happiness  could  come  to  them  if  they  would 
give  up  the  war-path  and  the  barbarism  of  the  past,  and 
seek  for  themselves  homes  amid  civilized  scenes  and 

Buffalo  Bill  is  therefore  a  great  teacher  among  his  red 
friends,  and  he  has  done  more  good  than  any  man  I  know 
who  has  lived  among  them. 


Courtly  by  nature,  generous  to  a  fault,  big-hearted  and 
brainy,  full  of  gratitude  to  those  whom  he  feels  indebted 
to,  he  has  won  his  way  in  the  world  and  stands  to-day  as 
truly  one  of  Nature's  noblemen. 

One  of  the  strongest  characteristics  of  Buffalo  Bill,  to 
my  mind,  was  his  love  for  his  mother — a  mother  most 
worthy  the  devotion  of  such  a  son.  His  love  and  devotion 
to  his  sisters  has  also  been  marked  throughout  his  lifetime. 

When  he  first  came  to  me  he  had  to  sign  the  pay-roll 
each  month  by  making  the  sign  of  a  cross,  his  mark.  He 
drew  a  man's  pay,  and  earned  every  dollar  of  it. 

He  always  had  his  mother  come  to  get  his  pay,  and  when 
one  day  he  was  told  by  the  paymaster  to  come  and  "  make 
his  mark  and  get  his  money,"  his  face  flushed  as  he  saw 
tears  come  into  his  mother's  eyes  and  heard  her  low  uttered 

"Oh,  Willie!  if  you  would  only  learn  to  write,  how 
happy  I  would  be." 

Educational  advantages  in  those  early  days  were  crude 
in  the  extreme,  and  Little  Billy's  chances  to  acquire  knowl- 
edge were  few,  but  from  that  day,  when  he  saw  the  tears  in 
his  mother's  eyes  at  his  inability  to  write  his  name,  he  began 
to  study  hard  and  to  learn  to  write;  in  fact  his  acquiring 
the  art  of  penmanship  got  him  into  heaps  of  trouble,  as 
"  Will  Cody,"  "  Little  Billy,"  "  Billy  the  Boy  Messenger," 
and  "William  Frederic  Cody"  were  written  with  the  burnt 
end  of  a  stick  upon  tents,  wagon-covers,  and  all  tempting 
places,  while  he  carved  upon  wagon-body,  ox-yoke,  and 
where  he  could  find  suitable  wood  for  his  pen-knife  to  cut 
into,  the  name  he  would  one  day  make  famous. 

With  such  energy  as  this  on  his  part,  Billy  Cody  was  not 
very  long  in  learning  to  write  his  name  upon  the  pay-roll 
instead  of  making  his  mark,  though  ever  since,  I  may  add, 
he  has  made  his  mark  in  the  pages  of  history. 


All  through  his  life  he  was  ever  the  devoted  son  and 
brother,  and  true  as  steel  to  his  friends,  for  he  has  not  been 
spoiled  by  the  fame  he  has  won,  while  to-day  his  firmest 
friends  are  the  officers  of  the  army  with  whom  he  has 
served  through  dangers  and  hardships  untold,  as  proof  of 
which  he  was  freely  given  the  indorsements  of  such  men 
as  Sherman,  Sheridan,  Gen.  Nelson  A.  Miles,  Generals  Carr, 
Merritt,  Royal,  and  a  host  of  others. 



From  the  dawn  of  history  to  the  present  time,  civiliza- 
tion has  followed  the  valleys.  From  the  Garden  of  Eden 
which  was  in  the  valley  of  the  Euphrates  to  modern  times 
the  water  courses  have  been  the  highways  of  civilization, 
and  made  the  Tiber  and  the  Thames,  the  Rhine  and  the 
Rhone  famous  in  the  annals  of  the  world's  progress.  In 
our  own  country  this  fact  has  been  especially  illustrated. 
The  valley  of  the  Rio  Grande  del  Norte  was  the  pathway 
of  the  Spaniard  in  his  march  to  the  northward,  and  it  is 
one  of  the  curious  facts  of  history  that,  before  the  Pilgrims 
had  landed  on  Plymouth  Rock,  the  adventurous  cavaliers 
of  Spain  had  penetrated  the  center  of  the  continent  and 
discovered  the  sources  of  the  great  river  in  the  Sangre  de 
Cristo  Mountains  of  Colorado. 

It  was  along  the  Connecticut  and  the  Hudson,  the  Dela- 
ware and  the  Susquehanna,  the  Ohio  and  the  Mississippi, 
that  the  pioneers  of  the  republic  pushed  their  way  west- 
ward and  planted  the  civilization  which  has  enjoyed  so 
substantial  and  prosperous  a  growth.  And  when  the  pio- 
neer resumed  his  westward  march  to  the  Rocky  Mountains, 
his  trains  lay  along  the  Missouri,  the  Arkansas,  and  the 
Platte,  thus  giving  to  the  valley  of  the  Platte  an  historic 
place  in  the  records  of  the  nation's  advancement. 

The  Louisiana  Purchase,  within  whose  boundaries  lay 
the  great  valley  of  the  Platte  and  its  tributaries,  was  com- 
pleted in  1804,  by  President  Thomas  Jefferson.  It  was  an 
act  of  statesmanship  worthy  of  the  man  who  had  drafted 



the  Declaration  of  Independence,  and  assured  the  young 
republic  a  future  little  dreamed  of  by  the  men  of  that  day, 
but  which  we  have  lived  to  realize.  Two  years  later,  in 
1806,  Lieut.  Zebulon  Pike  received  an  order  to  explore  the 
newly  acquired  national  possessions,  and  to  find  the  head- 
waters of  the  Platte  River.  In  pursuance  of  the  order, 
Lieutenant  Pike  marched  up  the  Arkansas  to  the  Fount- 
aine  Qui  Bouille,  discovered  and  ascended  the  great  peak 
which  bears  his  name,  entering  the  South  Park  from  the 
present  site  of  Canon  City  by  the  Current  Creek  route. 
Aside  from  his  discovery  of  the  headwaters  of  the  Platte, 
Lieutenant  Pike's  expedition  was  more  largely  devoted  to 
the  Arkansas  and  the  Rio  Grande  than  to  this  valley. 

The  second  expedition  up  the  Platte  Valley  was  ordered 
in  1819  by  John  C.  Calhoun,  Secretary  of  War  for  Presi- 
dent James  Monroe,  and  was  under  the  command  of  Major 
Stephen  S.  Long,  of  the  corps  of  topographical  engineers. 
Leaving  Pittsburg,  Pa.,  in  April,  1819,  Major  Long  pro- 
ceeded westward  and  established  his  camp  near  the  pres- 
ent site  of  Council  Bluffs,  Iowa,  to  which  was  given  the 
name  of  Engineer  Cantonment.  Thence  on  June  6,  1820, 
with  a  number  of  scientists  and  a  small  detail  of  regular 
troops,  he  marched  toward  the  mountains.  On  June  30th 
the  party  sighted  the  magnificent  range  of  the  Rocky  Mount- 
ains, a  view  of  which  burst  upon  them  in  the  full  glory  of 
the  morning  light.  On  July  3d  they  passed,  as  Long's 
annals  read,  "  the  mouth  of  three  large  creeks,  heading  in 
the  mountains  and  entering  the  Platte  from  the  northwest." 
These  were  undoubtedly  the  Cache  la  Poudre,  the  Thomp- 
son, and  the  St.  Vrain.  On  July  5th  they  camped  on  the 
present  site  of  Fort  Lupton,  and  on  July  6th  on  the  present 
site  of  Denver,  at  the  mouth  of  Cherry  Creek.  Thence  the 
party  followed  the  valley  to  the  Platte  Canon,  and,  proceed- 
ing southward  along  the  base  of  the  mountains,  returned 
eastward  along  the  Arkansas. 


Twenty-two  years  later,  in  1842,  came  Lieut.  John  C. 
Fremont,  the  famous  pathfinder,  who  traversed  the  Blue 
toward  the  Platte,  reaching  the  valley  at  Grand  Island,  a 
portion  of  the  party  going  up  the  North  Fork  toward  Fort 
Laramie,  and  the  larger  part  marching  up  the  South  Fork 
to  Fort  St.  Vrain,  which  had  then  been  established  a  num- 
ber of  years,  and  had  become  a  noted  rendezvous  for  trap- 
pers, hunters,  and  plainsmen.  The  following  year  the 
intrepid  explorer  left  St.  Louis  on  his  second  expedition, 
traveling  the  valleys  of  the  Kaw  and  the  Republican, 
reaching  the  Platte  at  the  mouth  of  Beaver  Creek,  and 
arriving  at  Fort  St.  Vrain  on  July  4,  1843.  I  quote  the 
words  of  Lieutenant  Fremont  as  prophetic  of  the  future  of 
the  valley.  "  This  post,"  he  says,  "  was  beginning  to 
assume  the  appearance  of  a  comfortable  farm.  Stock, 
hogs  and  cattle,  were  ranging  about  the  prairie.  There 
were  different  kinds  of  poultry  and  there  was  the  wreck  of 
a  promising  garden  in  which  a  considerable  variety  of  veg- 
etables had  been  in  a  flourishing  condition,  but  had  been 
almost  entirely  ruined  by  recent  high  water." 

Between  the  dates  of  the  expeditions  of  Long  and  Fre- 
mont three  noted  trading  posts  had  been  established  along 
the  Platte  in  the  immediate  vicinity  of  the  spot  on  which 
we  are  now  assembled.  The  first  of  these  was  Fort  Van- 
quez,  built  by  Louis  Vanquez  in  1832,  at  the  mouth  of 
Clear  Creek,  then  known  as  Vanquez  Fork  of  the  Platte. 
The  next  was  Fort  Lupton,  a  portion  of  whose  walls  are 
still  standing,  and  the  third  was  Fort  St.  Vrain,  built  in  1840. 
These  forts,  as  they  were  called,  were  trading  posts  at  which 
a  large  traffic  in  skins  and  furs  was  conducted,  and  which 
became  the  headquarters  of  such  famous  frontiersmen  as 
Kit  Carson,  Jim  Bridger,  Jim  Baker,  Jim  Beckwouth,  and 
others,  who  in  those  days  constituted  the  vedettes  of  the 
civilization  of  the  country.     I  have  not  time  to  dwell  upon 


their  exploits,  but  I  note  their  names  as  indicating  that  we 
stand  upon  historic  ground,  and  that  here  in  this  valley  were 
planted  the  first  germs  of  the  prosperous  growth  which 
to-day  enfolds  it  in  every  department  of  its  social,  industrial, 
and  commercial  life. 

In  1847  the  Platte  Valley  became  the  highway  of  the 
Mormons  in  their  exodus  from  Illinois  to  Utah.  Two 
years  later  its  trails  were  broadened  by  the  California 
pioneers  en  route  to  the  shores  of  the  Pacific  to  share  in 
the  golden  discoveries  of  Sutter  and  his  companions. 

In  1857  came  the  expedition  of  Col.  Albert  Sidney 
Johnston  marching  to  Utah  to  sustain  the  laws  and  authority 
of  the  United  States. 

But  a  greater  movement  was  now  organizing  to  traverse 
and  possess  the  valley  of  the  Platte.  In  the  fullness  of 
time  the  crisis  of  its  destiny  had  arrived.  The  year  of 
1859  dawned  upon  a  nation  fast  drifting  into  the  vortex  of 
a  civil  war.  The  irrepressible  conflict  which  for  half  a 
century  had  been  going  on  between  free  and  slave  labor 
was  nearing  the  arbitrament  of  arms,  and  absorbed  all  men's 
minds  to  the  exclusion  of  events  which  were  happening  on 
the  distant  frontier.  In  the  summer  of  1858  Green  Russell 
and  a  party  of  adventurous  prospectors  had  discovered 
gold  in  Cherry  Creek,  a  tributary  of  the  Platte.  The  news 
spread,  and  grew  as  it  spread,  until  the  people  living  along 
the  Missouri,  which  was  then  the  frontier  of  the  Republic, 
became  excited  over  the  richness  of  the  discoveries. 

They  were  ripe  for  adventure,  desperate  almost  in  their 
determination  to  reestablish  the  fortunes  that  had  been 
wrecked  by  the  financial  panic  of  1857,  which  had  swept 
with  disastrous  effect  along  the  entire  borderland  of  the 
entire  nation.  In  the  spring  of  1859  the  march  of  the 
pioneers  began.  The  Platte  Valley  was  their  grand  path- 
way to  the  mountains,  whose  summits  they  greeted  with 

THE    PLATTE    VALLEY.  251 

exultant  joy,  and  beneath  whose  protecting  shadows  they 
camped;  here  to  make  their  homes,  here  to  lay  the  founda- 
tions of  the  future  State. 

Thus  in  a  little  over  half  a  century  from  the  date  of 
its  purchase  by  the  Federal  Government,  the  Platte  Valley 
had  become  the  home  of  civilized  man,  and  the  work  of  its 
development  begun.  As  gold  was  first  discovered  in  this 
valley,  so  was  quartz  mining  first  begun  on  one  of  the 
tributaries  in  Gilpin  County. 

The  first  pioneer's  cabin  was  erected  in  Denver;  the 
first  school-house  was  built  at  Boulder;  the  first  church  was 
consecrated  at  Denver;  the  first  colony  located  at  Greeley, 
and  the  first  irrigating  ditches  taken  out,  all  within  the 
Platte  Valley.  As  the  valley  had  been  the  route  of  Major 
Long  and  other  of  the  early  explorers,  so,  following  in  the 
train  of  the  pioneer,  came  first  the  pony  express,  then  the 
stage-coach,  then  the  locomotive  and  the  Pullman  car.  And 
it  is  a  fact  which  I  believe  has  never  yet  been  published, 
that  the  last  stage-coach  of  the  great  overland  line  was  dis- 
patched from  the  town  of  Brighton  to  Denver,  thus  asso- 
ciating its  name  with  an  act,  insignificant  in  itself,  but  far- 
reaching  in  its  importance,  when  it  is  remembered  that  that 
act  marked  the  end  of  our  pioneer  period  and  ushered  in 
the  new  growth  of  the  railroad  era. 

We  stand  to-day  at  the  distance  of  three-fourths  of  a 
century  from  the  date  when  the  foot  of  the  while  man  first 
trod  the  valley  of  the  Platte.  The  names  of  Pike  and  Long 
are  perpetuated  by  the  two  magnificent  peaks  which  raise 
their  summits  to  the  clouds  and  stand  as  guardians  of  the 
plains  below.  Fremont  lived  to  see  his  wildest  dreams 
realized  in  the  progress  of  the  West,  but  whatever  fame  he 
may  have  achieved  as  a  soldier  and  a  statesman,  his  name 
will  longest  be  remembered  as  the  pathfinder  of  the  Rocky 
Mountains.     Wheat-fields  now  flourish  where  once  stood 


the  trading-posts  of  Vanquez  and  St.  Vrain.  The  trails  of 
the  early  explorers  and  of  the  pioneers  of  1859  are  almost 
obliterated,  and  grass  is  growing  upon  their  once  broad  and 
beaten  pathways.  A  happy,  contented,  prosperous  people 
possess  the  land.  A  great  line  of  railway  now  rolls  the 
traffic  of  a  continent  along  the  valley  where  once  the  stage- 
coach and  ox-trains  of  Russell,  Majors  &  Waddell 
wended  their  slow  and  weary  way.  Thriving  towns  and 
villages  and  cities  dot  the  plain,  and  reflect  in  the  activity 
of  their  commercial  life  the  industrial  development  by 
which  they  are  surrounded. 



In  August,  1838,  there  appeared  in  the  far  West  a  news- 
paper published  at  Liberty,  in  Clay  County,  Missouri,  the 
only  newspaper  within  many  miles,  a  notice  which  read  as 
follows:  "Circuit  Court  of  Jackson  County,  Missouri,  at 
Independence,  August  term,  1838."  Then  followed  a 
description  of  lands  now  included  in  what  is  known  as  the 
"old  town"  of  Kansas  City.  Then  continues:  "Theabove 
mentioned  lands  are  situated  in  the  county  of  Jackson,  one 
and  one-half  miles  below  the  mouth  of  the  Kansas  River, 
and  five  miles  from  the  flourishing  town  of  Westport.  The 
situation  is  admirably  calculated  for  a  ferry  across  the 
Missouri  River,  and  also  one  of  the  best  steamboat  land- 
ings on  the  river,  and  an  excellent  situation  for  a  ware- 
house or  town  site.  The  terms  of  sale  will  be  a  credit  of 
twelve  months,  the  purchaser  giving  bond  and  approved 
security,  with  interest  at  the  rate  of  10  per  cent  from  day 
of  sale.  All  those  wishing  to  invest  capital  advantage- 
ously in  landed  estate  will  do  well  to  call  upon  Justice  H. 
McGee,  who  is  guardian  for  the  heirs. 

"James  B.  Davenport, 
"Peter  Booth, 
"Elliott  Johnson, 

"  Commissioners." 
The  purchasers  were  William  L.  Sublette,  John  C. 
McCoy,  William  Gillis,  Robert  Campbell,  and  others,  and 
the  price  paid  for  the  entire  tract,  extending  along  the 
Missouri  River  from  Broadway  to  Troost  Avenue,  contain- 
ing 156  acres,  was  $4,220. 



These  gentlemen  put  their  purchase  into  lots  and  blocks 
and  called  it  "  Kansas,"  but  very  little  was  done  toward 
founding  a  city  until  some  eight  years  later,  when  a  new 
company  was  organized  by  H.  M.  Northup,  who  is  still 
living;  John  C.  McCoy,  who  died  within  the  past  few 
months;  Fry  P.  McGee,  Jacob  Ragan,  William  Gillis, 
Robert  Campbell,  who  have  been  dead  but  a  few  years 
respectively;  Henry  Jobe,  W.  B.  Evans,  and  W.  M.  Chick, 
who  have  been  dead  much  longer. 

The  first  sale  of  lots  was  had  in  April,  1848,  at  which 
sale  150  lots  were  sold  at  an  average  price  of  $55.65  per 

The  business  of  the  city  was  confined  almost  entirely,  for 
a  number  of  years,  to  the  levee,  and  was  of  the  general 
character  of  that  done  in  all  river  towns  in  their  early  his- 
tory, pretty  rough,  pretty  miscellaneous,  and  not  altogether 
unmixed  with  "  wet  goods."  Prohibition  was  an  unknown 
element  in  social  science,  and  the  proportion  of  whisky 
consumed  in  the  retail  trade,  compared  with  that  of  tea  or 
coffee,  was  very  like  that  described  by  Shakespeare  in 
referring  to  Falstaff's  "  intolerable  deal  of  sack  to  the  half 
penny  worth  of  bread."  But  very  few  men  of  those  days 
remain  nowadays;  yet,  as  I  have  said,  H.  M.  Northup  still 
lives,  vigorous  and  active.  Dr.  I.  M.  Ridge  still  continues 
to  practice  his  profession,  although  less  extensively  than 
forty  years  ago.  John  Campbell  traverses  our  streets,  but 
has  long  since  turned  his  well-known  and  faithful  old  sor- 
rel mule  out  to  grass.  William  Mulkey  looks  hale  and 
hearty,  but  has  discarded  his  former  buckskin  suit,  though 
he  still  maintains  a  portion  of  his  farm  in  the  center  of  the 
city.  Once  in  a  long  while  one  of  the  old  French  settlers 
of  those  early  days,  or  even  an  old  plainsman,  ventures  into 
the  busy  city  and  looks  about  him  in  a  bewildered  sort  of 
way  for  a  day  or  two,  and  then  disappears  again  into  the 

KANSAS   CITY    BEFORE    THE    WAR.  255 

nearest  wilderness  or  prairie,  as  being  far  more  congenial 
to  his  tastes  and  habits  of  life.  Not  all  of  them,  however, 
are  of  this  character  and  disposition.  It  is  but  a  few  weeks 
since  I  met  one  of  our  most  noted  pioneer  plainsmen  and 
freighters  across  the  prairies  of  Kansas,  Colorado,  and 
New  Mexico,  in  the  earliest  of  the  days  I  have  been  speak- 
ing of.  In  those  times  no  name  was  better  or  more  widely 
known  than  that  of  Seth  E.  Ward,  the  post  trader  at 

The  descendants  of  most  cf  the  original  owners  of  the 
"Town  of  Kansas,"  as  it  was  first  called,  or  "Westport 
Landing,"  as  it  was  nicknamed  later,  still  remain  there,  and 
are  among  its  most  prominent  and  respected  citizens 

Ten  years  later  the  "  western  fever  "  struck  Ohio,  and 
hundreds  of  young  men  of  my  acquaintance  left  there  for 
Kansas  and  Nebraska.  Omaha  was  a  favorite  objective 
point,  and  a  town  named  Columbus  was  founded  still  far- 
ther west  than  Omaha,  which  was  almost  entirely  colonized 
by  people  from  Franklin  County,  Ohio.  One  of  my  friends, 
Dr.  Theodore  S.  Case,  also  holding  the  rank  of  colonel,  was 
studying  medicine  at  the  time  In  Columbus,  Ohio,  and 
resisted  the  fever  until  the  following  year,  1857,  when,  with 
a  few  books  and  a  sheepskin  authorizing  him  to  write  M.  D. 
after  his  name,  and  to  commit  manslaughter  without  being 
called  to  account  for  it,  started  for  the  West.  He  knew 
nothing  of  the  West,  but  had  a  general  idea  that  he  would 
go  to  St.  Louis,  or  Keokuk,  or  Des  Moines,  or  Omaha,  or 
Council  Bluffs,  or  possibly  to  "Carson  City,"  Kan.;  for  a 
sharper,  originally  from  Columbus,  had  been  out  West  and 
came  back  with  a  lithographic  map  of  a  city  by  that  name, 
fixed  up  very  attractively,  and  with  all  the  modern  improve- 
ments of  court  house,  city  hall,  depots,  churches,  colleges, 
steamboats,  etc.,  and  he  bought  some  $15  worth  of  lots  on 


one  of  the  principal  thoroughfares  of  the  city  not  far  from 
the  depot.  However,  before  he  got  as  far  west  as  St. 
Louis,  he  had  learned  the  manners  and  tricks  of  such  gen- 
try, and  did  not  go  to  "  Carson  City."  By  some  accidental 
circumstance  his  attention  was  called  particularly  to  the 
geographical  location  of  Kansas  City,  and  he  at  once  deter- 
mined to  give  it  a  look  anyhow.  There  being  no  railroad 
nearer  than  Jefferson  City  at  that  time,  he  took  the  steamer 
Minnehaha  at  St.  Louis,  along  with  some  other  299  fellows 
who  were  going  "  out  west  to  grow  up  with  the  country," 
and  four  days  afterward  landed  at  Kansas  City,  May  1, 
1857,  almost  thirty-five  years  ago. 

The  first  view  of  Kansas  City  was  by  no  means  prepos- 
sessing, as  it  consisted  principally  of  a  line  of  shabby  look- 
ing brick  and  frame  warehouses,  dry-goods  stores,  grocer- 
ies, saloons,  restaurants,  etc.,  strung  along  the  levee  from 
Wyandotte  Street  to  a  little  east  of  Walnut  Street,  the 
whole  backed  up  and  surmounted  by  a  rugged  and  pre- 
cipitous bluff,  from  100  to  150  feet  high,  covered  with  old 
dead  trees,  brush,  dog  fennel  and  jimson  weeds,  with  an 
occasional  frame  or  log  house  scattered  between  and  among 
them,  and  a  few  women  and  children,  principally  darkies, 
looking  down  at  the  boats. 

To  a  young  man,  however,  the  levee,  with  its  three  or 
four  steamers,  huge  piles  of  Mexican  freight,  prairie  schoon- 
ers, mules,  greasers,  Indians,  negroes,  mud  clerks,  roust- 
abouts, Frenchmen,  consignees,  emigrants,  old  settlers,  ten- 
derfeet,  hotel  drummers,  brass  bands,  omnibuses,  etc.,  pre- 
sented attractions  not  easily  resisted.  Notwithstanding  all 
the  tooting  for  hotels,  there  were  really  but  two  in  the 
place,  one  on  the  levee,  then  known  as  the  American  Hotel, 
now  remembered  more  familiarly  as  the  "  Gillis  House," 
and  the  other  the  "  Farmers'  Hotel,"  on  Grand  Avenue, 
between  Sixteenth  and  Seventeenth  streets.     The  first  was 


technically  known  as  the  "  Free  State  Hotel,"  having  been 
built  by  the  New  England  Aid  Emigrant  Society,  and  the 
other  as  the  "  Pro-Slavery,"  or  "  Border  Ruffian  House,"  as 
it  was  or  had  been  the  headquarters  of  the  pro-slavery 
party  in  the  border  war  of  1854  and  1856  between  the  free 
state  and  pro-slavery  contestants  for  the  possession  of 
political  control  of  the  Territory  of  Kansas. 

All  travelers,  however,  who  knew  the  ropes  dodged  both 
these  hotels  and  took  the  omnibus  for  Westport,  where  two 
really  good  hotels  were  kept.  To  show  the  amount  of 
travel  toward  Kansas  at  that  time  I  may  say  that  at  the 
American  Hotel  alone  there  were  27,000  arrivals  in  the 
year  1856-57. 

Such  was  Kansas  City  in  early  days  and  the  experience 
there  of  a  tenderfoot,  but  now  an  honored  citizen  of  what 
is  really  to-day  a  great  city. 




Many  an  Eastern  city  has  more  dead  people  than  living. 
Instead  of  the  West  being  young,  the  East  is  growing  old. 
The  antiquities  of  the  Eastern  cemetery  are  often  more  in- 
teresting to  the  Westerner  than  the  life  and  energy  of  the 
living  city.  How  the  old  names  of  Concurrence,  Patience, 
Charity,  Eunice,  Virtue,  Experience,  Prudence,  Jerusha, 
Electra,  Thankful,  Narcissa,  Mercy,  Wealthy,  Joanna,  Me- 
hitable,  on  the  tombstones  of  the  old  Puritan  grandmoth- 
ers have  been  supplanted  by  the  new  names  of  these 
modern  times!  And  the  old-time  giandfathers — well,  their 
names  suggest  a  scriptural  chapter  on  genealogy.  These 
old-time  names,  with  quaint  and  queer  epitaphs,  on  less  pre- 
tentious monuments  than  the  costly  ones  now  erected,  make 
an  interesting  study,  for  the  ancient  dates  and  names 
show  that  the  cemetery  has  a  history  from  the  earliest 
settlement.  The  ancestral  bones  from  the  Mayflower  down 
to  the  present  have  been  saved.  It  is  true  that  the  great 
Western  cities  now  have  costly,  beautiful,  and  often  mag- 
nificent monuments  for  the  dead,  for  the  modern  cemetery 
is  becoming  aristocratic. 

But  for  the  reason  it  might  be  considered  almost  a  sacri- 
lege, the  model  of  a  typical  New  England  graveyard,  with 
its  odd  names  and  quaint  epitaphs,  would  be  an  interest- 
ing historical  study  at  the  World's  Fair.  In  fact  it  would 
be  as  much  of  a  curiosity  to  millions  of  people  in  the 
West  as  Buffalo  Bill's  Wild  West  Show  was  in  the  East. 

In  all  the  cities  of  the  West  there  are  more  live  people 



than  dead  ones,  which  is  not  always  true  of  the  East, 
where  the  cemetery  population  is  often  larger.  With  the 
exception  of  some  of  the  old  Spanish  mission  cemeteries, 
those  of  the  West  are  all  new,  unless  one  would  wish  to 
explore  the  ancient  homes  of  the  mound-builders  and  cliff- 
dwellers.  A  white  man's  graveyard  is  a  new  thing  for 
the  West.  There  are  many  thousands  among  the  17,000,- 
000  people  west  of  the  Mississippi  River  who  can  tell  of 
the  days  when  Kansas  City,  Omaha,  St.  Paul,  Minneapolis, 
Denver,  Salt  Lake,  Galveston,  Dallas,  Helena,  San  Fran- 
cisco, Portland,  and  Seattle  hardly  had  a  cemetery.  Even 
St.  Louis  and  New  Orleans  have  been  American  cities  less 
than  a  century. 

But  during  all  this  time  many  millions  have  been  added 
to  the  silent  cities  of  the  dead  in  the  East,  and  the  older 
the  cemetery  the  more  there  is  to  it  that  is  new  to  a  West- 
ern tourist.  One  born  in  the  West,  on  making  his  first  trip 
to  the  East,  finds  almost  as  much  of  interest  in  a  New  En- 
gland burial-ground,  and  often  views  it  with  as  little  rever- 
ence as  does  the  Bostonian  in  gazing  upon  the  mummies 
and  antiquities  of  Egypt. 

It  is  interesting  to  contrast  the  frontier  funeral  and  burial- 
ground  in  the  West  with  that  of  the  East.  The  cemetery,  the 
necessary  but  last  adjunct  to  the  organization  of  a  civilized 
community,  follows  in  the  wake  of  immigration  and  empire. 
No  monuments  mark  the  last  resting-place  of  those  buried 
in  the  first  five  great  cemeteries  in  the  far  West.  They  are 
in  the  region  of  nameless  and  unknown  graves. 

Those  five  historic  cemeteries,  where  thousands  from  the 
East  and  South  died  and  fill  unknown  graves,  are  the  Mis- 
souri River,  and  the  Santa  F<§,  Oregon,  California,  and 
Pike's  Peak  trails.  The  trans-Alleghany,  and  later  the 
trans-Mississippi  pioneers,  followed,  in  the  main,  the  water- 
courses. There  was  no  prairie-farming,  and  hence  the 


term,  "  backwoodsman."  It  was  a  kind  of  a  Yankee  trick  in 
the  West,  in  later  years,  to  leave  the  forests  and  begin  plow- 
ing the  prairies,  and  save  the  time  that  had  been  hitherto 
used  in  log-rolling  and  clearing  the  river-bottoms  for  agri- 
culture. The  early  trappers,  hunters,  and  fur  dealers  fol- 
lowed up  the  Missouri  River  and  its  tributaries.  Only  with 
great  difficulty  could  a  corpse  be  concealed  from  wolves  and 
coyotes,  the  latter  animal  always  having  been  known  as  the 
hyena  of  the  plains  country.  Hence  many  an  old  hunter, 
when  far  from  the  borderland  of  civilization,  has  buried 
his  "pard  "  in  the  Missouri  River!  Landsmen  and  plains- 
men with  a  seaman's  burial — a  watery  grave!  The  body 
wrapped  in  a  blanket — when  the  blanket  could  be  spared — 
and  tied  to  rocks  and  boulders,  was  lowered  from  the  drift- 
ing canoe  into  the  "  Big  Muddy,"  as  that  river  is  com- 
monly known  in  the  West.  Many  an  old  hunter  and  trap- 
per has  been  buried  in  the  mighty  rushing  waters  of  the 
great  Western  river,  even  as  the  faithful  followers  of  De 
Soto  lowered  his  remains  into  the  bosom  of  the  Missis- 
sippi. When  it  was  necessary  or  convenient  to  bury  the 
dead  on  land,  the  greatest  precaution  was  taken  to  protect 
the  body  from  wolves  and  coyotes,  which  were  especially 
dangerous  and  ravenous  when  off  of  the  trail  of  the  buffalo. 
Rocks  and  large  pieces  of  timber  were  placed  on  the 
newly  made  grave,  but  often  these  hyenas  of  the  plains 
could  be  seen  scratching  and  growling  at  this  debris  be- 
fore the  comrades  of  the  dead  man  were  out  of  sight. 
With  these  facts  so  well  known,  it  is  not  strange  that 
many  in  those  early  days  preferred  a  burial  in  the  rivers 
to  that  of  the  land.  It  seems  almost  paradoxical  to  thus 
find  in  the  old  trapper  some  of  the  instincts  and  traditions 
of  the  sailor.  Far  out  on  the  plains  cactus  was  often  put 
in  the  grave,  just  over  the  corpse,  as  a  protection  against 
the  wolves  and  coyotes. 


The  earlier  expeditions  starting  from  St.  Louis  went  up  the 
Mississippi  a  few  miles,  to  the  mouth  of  the  Missouri  River, 
and  then  followed  the  latter  stream.  For  some  time  the  old 
Boone's  Lick  country,  now  known  as  Howard  County,  Mo., 
and  Old  Franklin,  was  the  frontier  commercial  head. 

The  town  of  Old  Franklin,  where  was  the  original 
terminus  of  the  old  Santa  F6  trail,  when  Kit  Carson  was 
only  an  apprentice  to  a  saddler  and  harness-maker,  is  now 
the  bottom  of  the  Missouri  River,  for  there  a  current  of 
seven  miles  an  hour  has  cut  away  the  old  town  site. 

But  the  pioneers  became  bolder.  Instead  of  following 
the  river  they  began  to  venture  out  from  St.  Louis  overland, 
about  the  time  of  the  old  Boone's  Lick  settlement.  It  was 
considered  a  brave  and  hazardous  journey  to  start  from  St. 
Louis  overland  in  those  days,  for  it  was  a  village  town,  and 
all  of  the  country  to  the  west  was  a  wilderness.  It  was  about 
the  year  1808  that  the  Workman  and  Spencer  party  started 
from  St.  Louis,  and  far  out  on  the  plains,  before  reaching 
the  Rocky  Mountains,  one  of  the  party  sickened  and  died. 

The  Indians  rendered  what  assistance  they  could  in 
bringing  herbs  and  such  crude  medicines  as  they  used  for 
fevers.  The  poor  fellow  died,  and  they  dug  for  him  a 
grave,  which  was  among  the  first,  if  not  the  first,  burial  of 
a  white  man  on  the  great  plains  of  the  West. 

It  was  a  novel  sight  for  the  Indians  to  see  the  hunters 
and  trappers  wrap  up  their  dead  comrade  in  a  blanket,  and 
put  the  body  into  a  deep  hole  they  had  dug.  They  piled 
up  brush  and  what  heavy  things  they  could  find,  and 
placed  on  the  grave,  carved  his  name  in  rude  letters,  and 
went  on  their  way.  But  they  had  hardly  resumed  their 
journey  before  the  wolves  began  to  dig  at  the  grave. 

Were  it  not  foreign  to  the  purpose  of  this  article,  it 
would  be  interesting  to  relate  at  some  length  the  fate  of 
this  expedition.    The  most  of  the  party  were  slain  in  battles 


with  the  Indians,  and  Workman  and  Spencer  are  reported 
to  have  gone  through  the  grand  canons  of  the  Colorado  River 
to  California  in  1809,  but  that  remarkable  feat  is  discredited 
by  some,  leaving  honors  easier  with  Major  Powell,  whose 
expedition  through  these  canons  was  in  more  modern  times. 

This  lonely  and  desolate  grave  dug  by  the  Workman  and 
Spencer  party  is  supposed  to  have  been  somewhere  in  what 
is  now  Kansas  or  Nebraska.  It  was  the  beginning  of 
making  graves  on  the  plains  and  in  the  mountains,  but 
time,  wind,  rain,  and  sand  made  them  unknown. 

Many  thousands  perished  on  the  old-time  trails  to  Santa 
Fe,  the  Rocky  Mountains,  and  the  Pacific  Coast.  Expos- 
ure, sickness,  thirst,  starvation,  and  massacre  were  the 
dangers  the  immigrants  had  to  face.  Many  of  their  graves 
were  marked  with  slabs,  but  the  inscription  was  soon 
effaced.  These  graves  are  as  unknown  in  the  great  ocean 
of  plain,  prairie,  and  mountain  as  though  the  pioneer  dead 
had  been  buried  at  sea. 

The  most  fatal  days  was  when  the  cholera  raged  on  the 
Western  trails.  Sometimes  an  entire  train  would  be  stricken 
and  the  captain  would  be  compelled  to  corral  the  wagons 
until  aid  could  be  obtained  from  other  caravans  on  the 
desert,  then  so  called,  or  the  teamsters  recovered  to  con- 
tinue the  journey.  Women  sometimes  helped  to  dig  the 
graves  and  assisted  in  burying  the  dead,  and  have  then 
taken  the  dead  teamster's  place  at  the  wagon,  driving  the 
oxen  until  men  could  be  employed. 

With  the  opening  of  the  Western  trails  for  wagons,  a 
larger  number  were  buried  in  boxes  made  from  rude  pieces 
of  lumber,  or  sometimes  a  part  of  the  sideboard  of  the 
wagon  was  utilized  for  that  purpose.  The  earlier  expedi- 
tions were  on  horseback,  and  hence  at  that  time  the  best 
that  could  be  done  would  be  to  roll  the  body  in  a  blanket. 
Only  those  in  the   East  who  have  seen  a  burial   at  sea, 


although  they  may  never  have  been  on  the  plains,  can 
realize  the  sadness  and  desolation  of  those  who  left  their 
friends  in  the  nameless  graves  of  the  old-time  American 
desert.  Many  of  the  babies  lived  that  were  born  on  the 
California  and  Oregon  trails,  but  the  saddest  of  all  was 
when  the  pioneer  mother  and  babe  were  added  to  the 
thousands  of  nameless  graves.  The  death-couch  was  a 
pile  of  straw  and  a  few  blankets  in  an  old  freight  wagon. 
If  the  angels  ever  hover  over  the  dying,  there  never  would 
have  been  a  more  appropriate  place  for  their  ministrations. 
Nameless  graves!  Unknown!  Only  the  drifting  sands 
and  the  ceaseless  flow  of  the  mighty  Western  rivers  know 
the  place  of  their  nameless  dead.  These  are  the  famous 
cemeteries  of  the  far  West.  There  are  no  granite  shafts 
or  beautiful  emblems  carved  in  marble.  Heroic  men  and 
women!  They  died  unknown  to  fame  and  honor,  but  they 
gave  their  lives  that  a  new  civilization  and  a  new  empire 
might  be  born  in  the  far  West.  The  brave  men,  North  and 
South,  who  fell  in  battle,  have  their  graves  marked 
"  unknown  "  when  they  could  not  be  identified,  but  no  one 
knows  where  sleep  the  thousands  who  died  on  these  trails. 
Even  a  slab  to  the  "  unknown  "  could  not  be  placed,  for 
who  knows  the  grave?  Farm-houses,  fertile  fields,  cities 
and  towns,  and  the  rushing  railway  car  now  mark  the 
spot.  The  path  of  civilization  and  the  rapid  building  of 
empire  in  the  West  is  their  only  living  monument. 

During  the  cholera  days  there  was  a  heavy  loss  of  life 
on  the  Western  steamboats.  On  the  Missouri  River  some 
of  the  old  boats  had  a  burial  crew.  At  night-time,  when 
the  passengers  were  hardly  aware  of  what  was  going  on, 
the  boat  would  stop  near  a  sand-bar.  The  bodies  of  those 
who  had  died  during  the  day  were  taken  to  the  sand-bar, 
where  they  were  quickly  buried.  What  would  have  been 
the  use  of  putting  up  even  a  pine  board,  for  the  rising 
waters  would  soon  have  washed  it  away? 


But  this  is  not  simply  Western  history.  It  is  a  part  of 
the  history  of  the  North  and  the  South,  for  those  who  came 
never  to  return  were  from  those  sections.  In  many  an 
Eastern  and  Southern  home  it  is  as  unknown  to  them  as 
to  the  people  of  the  West  where  sleep  their  dead  on  those 
old  trails  of  the  Western  empire. 

The  emigrants  and  gold-seekers  were  population  in 
transit.  Their  burial-places  were  as  fleeting.  With  the 
building  of  new  towns  and  cities  were  established  ceme- 
teries, but  there  still  continued  to  be  the  thousands  of 
unknown  graves.  A  father,  brother,  husband,  or  son  dies 
away  from  home.  His  name  may  not  have  been  known, 
or  if  it  was,  the  pencil-marks  on  the  pine  board  soon  lost 
their  tracing  in  the  weather-beaten  changes  that  time 
brings.  How  often  in  my  own  experience  in  the  mining 
camps  I  have  seen  men  die  far  away  from  the  tender  and 
loving  care  of  mother,  wife,  and  sister.  How  terrible  then 
is  the  struggle  with  death!  The  desire  to  live  and  to  see 
the  old  home-faces  again  becomes  a  passion.  In  their 
delirium  the  passion  becomes  a  reality.  In  their  feverish 
dreams  I  have  seen  the  dying  miner  in  his  cabin  fancy  he 
was  home  again.  He  talks  to  his  wife,  and  with  words  of 
endearment  tells  her  that  he  has  found  a  fortune  in  the 
mines.  I  never  knew  of  a  miner  who,  in  the  delirium  of 
death,  when  he  Was  talking  of  the  mines,  but  what  he  was 
rich.  He  had  struck  the  precious  metal.  He  tells  his 
people  at  home  about  it,  and  many  a  poor  fellow  has  seem- 
ingly died  content,  founded  on  the  fancy  that  he  had  a 
mine  and  that  his  wife  and  family  would  always  have 
plenty.     Out  of  many  instances  I  will  relate  but  one. 

A  young  man  from  Galena,  111.,  eleven  years  ago,  was 
taken  sick  and  soon  the  fever  was  upon  him.  He  grew 
rapidly  worse,  but  bravely  fought  the  pale  reaper,  for  he 
wanted  to  see  home  again.     But  courage  was  not  equal  to 


the  task.  The  poor  fellow  had  to  die,  and  when  the  fever 
was  at  its  height,  he  imagined  that  he  was  with  his  wife 
and  baby.  How  tenderly  he  spoke  to  his  young  wife.  He 
thought  he  had  a  rich  mine,  and  told  her  where  it  was 
located.  Then  he  imagined  that  his  pillow  was  his  baby, 
and  that  he  was  running  his  fingers  through  the  child's 
curly  hair,  and  would  fondle  the  child  up  to  his  bosom. 
As  I  gazed  on  the  bronze  and  weather-beaten  faces  of 
those  present  in  the  cabin,  I  saw  tears  come  into  the  eyes 
of  some  when  the  dying  man  was  murmuring  child-love 
talk  to  the  baby. 

At  the  time  of  the  great  Leadville  rush,  many  came  who 
never  returned.  Unknown,  many  of  them  sleep  in  their 
last  resting  place — in  the  gulches,  on  the  mountain  sides, 
and  under  the  shadows  of  the  pine  trees  and  granite  peaks. 
Exposure  and  not  being  prepared  to  guard  against  the 
sudden  changes  of  climate  caused  many  to  die  of  pneu- 
monia and  fevers.  The  writer  went  through  a  hard  attack 
of  typhoid  pneumonia  in  one  of  the  mining  camps.  After 
the  worst  was  over  and  I  was  conscious  again,  one  of  the 
boys  said  to  me,  "  Hello,  pard,  when  you  were  in  the  fever 
you  thought  you  had  found  enough  gold  mines  to  have 
bought  out  the  Astors  and  Vanderbilts." 

The  greatest  number  of  deaths  for  a  while  seemed  to 
come  from  what  was  known  as  the  "  sawdust  gang."  In 
the  wild  excitement  of  a  new  mining  camp  boom,  people 
rush  in  by  the  hundreds  and  thousands.  Many  have  only 
enough  money  to  get  there,  and  are  compelled  to  sleep  on 
the  sawdust  floor  of  the'  saloons.  Thus  they  caught  cold, 
which  turning  into  pneumonia  often  proved  fatal.  And 
the  cowboys — how  often  on  the  long  Texas-Montana 
drives  they  have  dug  a  hasty  grave  and  with  the  lassos 
lowered  their  dead  pard  into  it. 

The  sporting  and  theatrical  element  always  have  a  swell 


funeral  in  the  booming  mining  camps.  The  musicians 
from  the  dance-halls  turn  out,  play  dirges,  and  with  due 
pomp  and  ceremony  the  funeral  is  conducted.  The  band 
returns  from  the  new  cemetery  usually  playing  some  lively 
air.  The  deceased  has  had  a  fine  funeral  and  a  good  send- 
off,  and  now  to  business.  The  dance-halls  are  crowded 
again,  the  music  goes  on,  and  men  and  women  gamble, 
dance,  and  drink,  unmindful  of  what  has  occurred. 

Those  were  days  of  death,  hell,  and  the  grave.  But 
what  will  not  men  undergo  and  dare  for  gold  ?  They  have 
braved  anything  for  it  in  the  past,  and  will  in  the  future. 
Friendships  and  home  ties  are  broken,  and  in  the  wild,  mad 
rush  for  fortune,  thousands  of  gold  hunters  have  lost  their 
lives,  and  fill  nameless  and  unknown  graves  in  the  far 
West.  There  is  something  of  romance  in  the  death  of  a 
humble  prospector  searching  for  wealth  on  the  mountain 
side.  Whether  rich  or  poor  the  old  gold  hunter  often  sees 
wealth  ahead  in  his  last  hours.  And,  perchance,  through 
the  fading  light  on  the  mountain  peaks,  may  he  not  see  a 
trail  leading  to  a  city  where  the  streets  are  golden?  Who 

In  1849  and  1850,  all  along  the  trail  of  the  overland 
freighters'  route,  were  scattered  unknown  graves,  clear  into 
California,  my  dear  father  being  one  of  the  pioneers  who 
died  and  filled  an  unknown  grave.  In  the  fall  of  1850,  on 
the  east  bank  of  the  San  Joaquin  River,  he  died  of  cholera, 
and  was  buried,  and  his  grave  is  unknown. 

Another  instance  that  I  recall  was  of  the  death  of  one 
of  the  women  of  the  party.  She  was  buried  at  the  South 
Pass,  and  they  built  a  pen  of  cottonwood  poles  over  the 
grave,  placing  her  rocking  chair  to  mark  the  spot,  and 
which  had  her  name  carved  on  it. 



My  son  Benjamin  and  I  worked  as  contractors  almost  a 
year  in  1868,  upon  the  building  of  the  Union  Pacific  Rail- 
road, and  we  were  present  at  the  Promontory  when  the 
Union  and  Central  Pacific  roads  met,  and  saw  the  gold 
and  silver  spikes  driven  into  the  California  mahogany  tie. 
It  was  regarded  at  that  time  as  the  greatest  feat  in  railroad 
enterprise  that  had  ever  been  accomplished  in  this  or  any 
other  country,  and  it  was  a  day  that  will  be  remembered 
during  the  lifetime  of  all  that  were  present  to  witness  this 
great  iron  link  between  the  two  oceans,  Atlantic  and 
Pacific.  My  calling  as  a  freighter  and  overland  stager 
having  been  deposed  by  the  building  of  telegraph  lines  and 
the  completion  of  a  continental  railway,  I  was  compelled 
to  look  after  a  new  industry,  and  as  the  silver  mining  at 
that  time  was  just  beginning  to  develop  in  Utah,  I  chose 
that  as  my  next  occupation,  and  my  first  experience  in  pros- 
pecting for  silver  mines  was  in  Black  Pine  District  north 
of  Kelton  some  twenty-five  miles,  and  I  believe  in  the 
northwest  corner  of  Utah.  The  district  proved  to  be  a 
failure,  but  leaving  it,  I  met  with  Mr.  R.  C.  Chambers,  who, 
upon  acquaintance,  I  found  to  be  a  very  pleasant  gentle- 
man. I  left  the  camp  and  went  to  Salt  Lake  City,  and 
wrote  Mr.  Chambers  that  I  thought  mines  in  the  mount- 
ains were  a  better  show  for  prospectors  than  the  Black 
Pine  District,  and  in  a  few  days  he  came  to  Salt  Lake  City, 
and  we  then  engaged  in  prospecting  in  the  American  Fork 
and  Cottonwood  districts,  which  lay  in  the  Wasatch  Mount- 



ains,  twenty-five  or  thirty  miles  southeast  of  Salt  Lake 
City.  We  had  some  success,  but  were  not  able  to  find  any- 
thing in  the  way  of  bonanzas.  We  were  connected  with 
each  other  more  or  less  until  1872,  when  a  gentleman  came 
to  me  one  day  in  July  of  that  year  and  told  me  that  he  had 
a  bond  upon  McHenry  mine,  in  Park  District,  and  that  the 
mine  was  a  remarkably  rich  one.  He  desired  me  to  tele- 
graph to  Mr.  George  Hearst  of  San  Francisco  to  come  to 
Salt  Lake  City  and  go  and  see  the  mine.  He  said  that  he 
wanted  me  to  send  the  message  because  he  knew  Mr. 
Hearst,  with  whom  I  had  become  acquainted  through  Mr. 
Chambers,  would  come  for  my  telegram,  when  he  would 
perhaps  pay  no  attention  to  his.  I  sent  the  message,  and 
received  a  reply  forthwith  that  he  would  start  at  once  for 
Salt  Lake  City.  He  arrived  in  due  time,  and  we  together 
went  to  the  McHenry  mine.  Upon  arrival  we  found  it 
was  not  what  was  represented.  We  were  thoroughly  dis- 
appointed in  our  expectations.  But  while  sitting,  resting 
on  a  large  boulder,  a  man  by  the  name  of  Harmon  Budden 
(who  a  day  or  two  before  had  discovered  and  located  the 
Ontario  mine)  approached  us  and  spoke  to  Mr.  Hearst.  Mr. 
H.  said  he  did  not  remember  him,  but  Mr.  Budden  said 
he  had  previously  met  him  in  some  mining  camp  in  Nevada, 
and  remarked  that  he  had  a  prospect  that  he  would  like  us 
to  look  at,  only  a  short  distance  away.  We  went  with  him 
to  the  location.  His  shaft  was  then  only  about  three  feet 
deep,  and  when  Mr.  Hearst  jumped  down  into  the  hole  that 
he  had  dug,  the  surface  of  the  ground  was  about  as  high 
as  his  waist,  and  he  could  jump  in  and  out  by  putting  his 
hands  on  the  earth.  I  saw  that  he  was  very  much  interested 
in  the  appearance  of  the  ore,  which  at  that  depth  and  at 
that  time  did  not  show  more  than  a  streak  of  eight  or  ten 
inches  of  mineral.  I  was  at  that  time  what  they  called  a 
"  tenderfoot,"  and  had  not  been  in  the  mining  business  long 


enough  to  be  an  expert,  and  to  my  inexperienced  eye  there 
was  nothing  unusual  in  the  appearance  of  the  ore,  but  Mr. 
Hearst  did  see  something,  and  he  determined  then  and 
there  to  purchase  the  Ontario  prospect,  and  arranged  when 
we  returned  to  Salt  Lake  City  with  Mr.  Chambers  to  keep 
a  watch  over  its  development,  and  purchase  it  when  he  saw 
an  opportunity  to  do  so.  Mr.  Budden  and  his  associates 
asked  $5,000  for  the  prospect  when  we  were  there,  but  Mr. 
Hearst  thought  it  might  be  bought  for  less,  as  it  was  noth- 
ing but  a  prospect.  But  as  the  development  of  the  mine 
progressed  they  raised  their  price  for  it  $5,000  every  time 
they  were  asked  the  terms,  until  at  last  it  was  up  to  $30,000, 
when  Mr.  Chambers  purchased  it  for  Mr.  Hearst  and  his  as- 
sociates in  San  Francisco,  Messrs.  Tebis  and  Haggin.  Mr. 
R.  C.  Chambers  was  made  superintendent  of  the  mine,  and 
has  remained  its  manager  from  that  period  until  the  present, 
he  being  one  of  the  stockholders,  as  well  as  the  superintend- 
ent. The  mine  has  grown  and  developed  until  it  is  one  of 
the  great  mines  of  the  Rocky  Mountain  region,  and  under 
Mr.  Chamber's  supervision  has  been  extremely  successful 
and  profitable  to  its  owners.  Its  output,  up  to  1892,  has 
been  over  $26,000,000,  over  $12,000,000  of  which  has  been 
paid  in  dividends  to  the  stockholders.  This  showed  that 
Mr.  Hearst  was  an  expert,  for  he  was  really  one  of  the  best 
judges  of  minerals  I  ever  met. 

Utah  has  furnished  the  mining  industry  with  some  very 
remarkably  rich  silver  mines,  among  them  the  Eureka,  in 
Tintick  District;  the  Eureka  Centennial;  the  Chrisman 
Mammoth,  a  large  gold  and  silver  mine,  and  the  Beck  and 
Hornsilver,  in  the  Frisco  District;  the  Crescent;  the  Daly, 
in  Park  City  District;  and  Ontario,  as  well  as  a  great  many 
smaller  mines  in  the  various  parts  of  Utah.  In  Montana 
we  have  one  of  the  greatest  copper  mines  in  America, 
called  the  Anaconda.     It  is  the  leading  mine  in  Butte  City, 


though  they  have  many  other  remarkable  mines  in  that 
district.  Then  there  is  the  Granite  Mountain,  the  Drum- 
lummen,  in  Marysville  District,  also  in  Montana.  But  the 
greatest  output  from  any  mine  yet  discovered  was  the  Corn- 
stock,  in  Virginia  City,  Nev.  It  has  produced  more  mill- 
ions of  dollars  than  any  other  silver  mine  in  the  United 
States,  its  output  being  about  one-third  gold.  The  mining 
industry  of  the  Rocky  Mountain  States  and  Territories  is 
only  in  a  fair  way  for  development.  The  State  of  Colo- 
rado furnishes  some  very  rich  mining  camps;  also  New 
Mexico  and  Arizona. 

In  Colorado  there  is  the  Central  City  and  Black  Hawk, 
and  the  adjacent  mining  district,  from  which  there  has 
been  millions  of  dollars  in  gold  extracted;  also  the  Lead- 
ville,  which  has  produced  its  millions  in  silver  and  lead; 
the  Aspen  District,  with  its  Molly  Gibson  and  other 
immensely  rich  mines.  Then  there  is  the  Crede  District, 
with  its  Amethyst  and  others,  now  producing  large  amounts 
of  silver  and  some  gold;  the  Silverton,  where  there  are  a 
great  many  rich  mines  being  opened;  the  Ouray  District  and 
Cripple  Creek,  a  newly  discovered  gold  camp,  with  various 
others  in  that  State  too  numerous  to  mention.  Nearly  all 
of  the  entire  mining  camps  of  the  State  produce  both  gold 
and  silver  in  greater  or  less  proportions,  and  with  more  or 
less  galena  or  lead  contained  in  the  ores  with  the  precious 
metals,  and  this  great  mining  industry,  when  it  is  allowed 
to  go  on  as  it  did  before  the  demonetization  of  silver,  will 
prove  to  be  among  the  greatest  and  best  paying  industries 
in  the  whole  Rocky  Mountain  region. 

The  Black  Hills  mining  district  of  South  Dakota  is  a  very 
large  mining  camp,  where  millions  and  millions  of  dollars 
in  gold  and  silver  have  been  taken  out,  and  where,  no  doubt, 
hundreds  of  millions  more  will  be  produced. 

Idaho  has  also  proven  to  be  a  very  rich  State  in  mineral 

SILVER    MINING.  " ",  I 

wealth,  both  gold  and  silver,  with  many  places  where  gold 
is  washed  out  of  the  sands  and  gravel  of  the  valleys. 

Silver  City,  in  New  Mexico,  has  produced  a  great  many 
millions  in  gold  and  silver,  and  at  present  seems  to  be  a 
mining  camp  of  great  merit. 

The  mining  industry  of  the  mountains  has,  of  course, 
been  the  means  of  influencing  the  building  of  numerous 
railroads  through  and  into  some  of  the  most  difficult 
mountain  ranges;  in  fact  wherever  there  has  been  a  flour- 
ishing mining  district  the  railway  people  have  found  a  way, 
with  capital  behind  them,  to  build  a  road  to  it,  and  it  has 
now  become  apparent  that  a  rich  mining  camp  will  have  a 
railway  connection  sooner  or  later,  no  matter  how  difficult  of 
access  it  may  be.  I  think  the  men  and  the  companies  who 
have  had  the  building  of  roads  through  and  into  the  Rocky 
Mountains,  and  the  interests  of  the  country  at  heart,  are 
deserving  of  great  praise.  No  doubt,  as  many  camps  are 
discovered,  it  will  be  necessary  to  build  many  more  roads 
than  are  now  in  existence,  without  which  the  mining  indus- 
try could  not  be  conducted  with  profit. 

I  may,  in  concluding  this  chapter  on  mining,  speak  of  the 
great  future  there  is  for  both  Washington  and  Oregon  as 
mineral  States. 

I  I  I  I  I  I 

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